Bristol Township Senior Center gives thanks on Giving Tuesday

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JACK FIRNENO / TIMES PHOTO

Thom Sodano has been loading his pickup truck with fresh produce twice a week for nearly three years.

Directing a team of volunteers like himself, he visits the United Methodist Church in Bensalem every Tuesday, and often the one in New Britain on Thursdays.

They collect donations from Rolling Harvest, mostly produce but also some organic meats, and deliver full truckloads to the Bristol Township Senior Center.

The food is for people who, like Sordano, who recently turned 70, are members at the senior center.

“It’s a great program. I like doing it,” he said. “When the people come and say they really appreciate what you do, it really makes it worthwhile.”

And, it’s at events like the one Sodabi attended last week, when the time and effort he and many others put into the senior center gets recognized by staff and members alike.

Last week marked Giving Tuesday, which follows the post-Thanksgiving shopping days and is intended as an unofficial beginning to the holiday season.

For the senior center, it’s an opportunity to raise money for year-round programming, while also introducing more people to their services, and recognizing the many people who help provide them year-round.

That includes groups like Rolling Harvest as well as Home Depot, which has donated shelving, gardening supplies and more over the past few years. Other businesses like Parx Casino and Texas Roadhouse have been making contributions.

Students from Bucks County Technical High School and Amtrak employees also volunteer their time, while groups like the Bensalem Lions and Independence Blue Cross host events at the center year-round.

These groups, along with individual donors and members, were publicly thanked and awarded certificates during a luncheon that morning.

“It’s all different people doing in all different ways, and we’re thanking a lot of the people who support us today,” said Senior Center Manager Bonnie Worth.

That support goes directly toward helping the center continue its programming. In Bucks County, pointed out Worth, one in five seniors live in isolation and many suffer from poor nutrition.

The senior center, she explained, provides not only social outlets for older people in the county, but also health and wellness and nutritional programs. That includes efforts like Meals on Wheels, and Rolling Harvests’ free farmers markets and nutrition classes that help people get more fresh produce into their diet.

The center holds expos and screenings, and companies like Independence Blue Cross have even piloted new programs like classes to help people make end-of-life and quality-of-life decisions.

“Basically, we’re trying to make sure everybody knows where their health is at and how to maintain it,” explained Worth.

“It’s important because nutrition can be very poor, and isolation can lead to depression and chronic conditions, and that’s what we don’t want.”

This is the third year the Center has held Giving Tuesday events. Donors raised $2,000 the first ear and $6,000 the second.

Worth’s goal, between donations coming in on that day, matching donations and online contributions throughout the month, is to raise $10,000 by the end of the year.

“We’re very happy and very lucky to have such great community partners,” she said. ••

For information on the Bristol Township Senior Center or to make a donation, call 215.785.6322 or visit theyounginheart.com.

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