Volunteers make special delivery of Christmas meals

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On Dec. 22, The Cranston Senior Center was very busy with a hustle and bustle as Christmas Meals, provided by the Center, were picked up for delivery throughout the city. The Center has been doing the meals program for 33 years.

“We provide meals for people age 60 and above who will be home alone for the holidays. We have recruited volunteer drivers through our RSVP program, The Cranston Herald and Social Media. Word of mouth is also a great resource,” said Jeffrey P. Barone, Executive Director of the Cranston Department of Senior Services.

“We start in October with calling past meal recipients and asking if they will be in need this year. We ask for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Everyone receives a reminder postcard about 10 days prior to delivery just to confirm there is still a need,” said Barone.

The nutrition department prepares all meals on site. RSVP volunteers package all meals the day before delivery and the morning of, the same volunteers bag and label them. This year, Senior Volunteer, Marie Carnevale, decorated all the bags that the meals were delivered in.

Among the volunteers was Cranston resident Robert Rastella who has been delivering holiday meals for two years.

“I enjoy helping others,” said Rastella. “The looks on each senior citizen’s face when I bring their meal directly to them is priceless and makes it so worthwhile for the holiday season, actually helping others all year is what I believe in.”

Among his travels was the home of Angelina Ribeiro and Maria Fonseca (aunt/niece) along with Ribeiro’s two elderly special needs sons, Joseph and Anthony.

“Bob is so wonderful with us,” said Ribeiro. “I want to thank the chefs at the Senior Center; Ray [Sinapi] is a great cook!”

“We enjoy not only the meal delivery, but the time Bob spends with us,” said Ribeiro.

Rastella was also on hand to help during the Thanksgiving Meal delivery to seniors last month.

“We provided approximately 300 meals for Christmas with the help of 50-60 volunteers,” said Barone.

“The Cranston Department of Senior Services is synonymous with – Holiday Joy – as without the Cranston Senior Center’s Holiday Meals more than 300 seniors would not have a meal on Christmas,” said David Quiroa, executive team assistant director.

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