Southwick plans ‘Welcome Back Day’ for seniors

Council on Aging Director Cindy Sullivan explains the details of the Welcome Back Day to the rest of the COA. (PETER CURRIER/THE WESTFIELD NEWS)

SOUTHWICK — The Southwick Council on Aging is planning a “Welcome Back Day” event Sept. 9 to celebrate being able to have Senior Center activities in-person. 

COA Director Cindy Sullivan said during the Aug. 9 COA meeting that the Sept. 9 event will be split into four activities throughout the day. It will begin with a coffee and doughnut hour at 9:30 a.m., featuring donuts from Mrs. Murphy’s. 

Also beginning at 9:30 a.m. and going to 11 a.m. is a meet-and-greet with Senior Center class instructors and Southwick’s new Chief of Police Bob Landis. Sullivan said that Senior Center classes would begin Sept. 13. 

At 11:30 a.m. there will be a lobster lunch for seniors hosted and paid for by Southwick’s Fire Department. Sullivan said that the lobster lunch is the only event that will require pre-registration, simply so that the Fire Department knows how much food to buy for the event. 

“The Fire Department will do a fire safety and awareness talk and will also be paying for the lobster lunch,” said Sullivan.

She said 55 people had registered as of Aug. 9 with a limit of 75 people. Moolicious ice cream will also be served during lunch. 

Sullivan said that the final activity will be an open craft session at 1 p.m. Seniors will be given a free raffle ticket for every event they attend. She said the police association and Select Board are donating raffle baskets, and the Council on Aging will be putting a basket together as well. 

She noted that the Welcome Back Day activities will be contingent on the state of the pandemic locally at that time, and the ongoing spread of the delta variant. 

“I think we will move forward until we can’t,” said Sullivan. 

Sullivan said that a memorial banner is being worked on with the names of all of the Senior Center regulars who have died over the last year and a half. She said it will include the names of people who have passed both from COVID-19 and other causes since March 16, 2020, when the Senior Center closed at the onset of the pandemic.

“There are a lot of names on that list. I think I counted 85, then I stopped counting,” said Sullivan, to the shock of the rest of the COA. “We have lost a lot of people in our community, not just from COVID.”

Sullivan said that it was hard to read those names and to reopen the Senior Center and not see some of the people who had been there before it closed last year.

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