DRACUT — When word gets out about the tickets, seniors knock the doors of the Dracut Council on Aging down to get a pair.
The Dracut High School Student Council hosts a dinner for the elderly every year in May. It started as a small gathering five years ago, but word has spread about the fabulous food and excellent entertainment roster. This year, hundreds of hungry seniors filled the tables of the Dracut High School cafeteria on May 10, anxious for a night of pampering.
“We advertise at the senior center, all over town and in the schools so kids can spread the word to their grandparents,” said Linda Dugan, student council adviser.
Dugan took over the event a year ago. Since the dinner was already a huge success, Dugan said she didn’t have to change much. She added a bit more entertainment, including a highlight performance and a Bingo game.
For $5, seniors enjoy a meal of chicken stuffed with broccoli, plus baked potatoes and vegetables followed by a mouth watering desert. The kids do all the work; all the seniors have to do is show up and enjoy.
Members of the Dracut Show Choir took turns serenading the crowd with their powerful vocals this year. The talented group was recently nominated for 11 out of 12 possible Spotlight Awards through the North Shore Music Theater in Peabody for their spring concert production, Fiddler on the Roof.
“She has some voice on her,” said one elderly man as Dracut High School Junior Kerri Rachel belted out her own rendition of “The Greatest Love of All.”
For some, the dinner is a chance to get out and see familiar faces. Alma Reeves, a Dracut senior, comes every year to chat with old friends and enjoy the show.
“It’s great camaraderie with other seniors and it’s a bridge between the generations,” said Reeves.
The dinner gives young people an opportunity to interact with the older generations, something many rarely have the chance to do.
Since most of the food is donated by local businesses, cost to the seniors is kept to a minimum. Students volunteer to decorate, cook, serve and clean up after the meals. A professional chef is hired to do most of the cooking.
Student Council member Gina Butler carefully cleared one of the tables and enjoyed some friendly bantering with a table full of rowdy seniors when the meal was over.
“This is a great event for everyone. Seniors get to have fun and the students get to meet some of the seniors in town,” said Dugan.
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