Westfield joins statewide effort to help Rehoboth Senior Center after fire

WESTFIELD-Seniors helping seniors is the backdrop for a special fundraiser on Jan. 28, hosted by the Westfield Council on Aging.

“Rehoboth is a small, historical town located 25 miles north of New Bedford,” said Tina Gorman, executive director, Westfield Council on Aging/Westfield Senior Center. “Tragically, on Sept. 12, the Rehoboth Senior Center burned to the ground. The entire building was destroyed, leaving the older adults in the town without key services in the middle of a pandemic.”

Gorman said the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging (MCOA) reached out to senior center directors, alerting them of the Rehoboth fire and that a charitable giving campaign was launched so all could help.

“Throughout the Commonwealth, the senior centers are very supportive of one another, often sharing ideas and information,” said Gorman. “The MCOA provides a statewide platform for mutual assistance.”

Gorman added that the method for raising funds was left up to the individual senior centers.

“The Westfield Senior Center is joining centers across the Commonwealth in an effort to raise funds for programs and services for Rehoboth’s seniors,” said Gorman.

Gorman and her kitchen team will offer a “Comfort Food to Comfort Rehoboth Seniors” luncheon on Jan. 28 with reservations being taken beginning Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. The meals will be available for curbside pickup between 11 and 11:45 a.m.

The menu includes meatloaf with gravy – a specialty by kitchen assistant George Sfakios – as well as mashed potatoes, green beans, and apple crisp with whipped topping. If there is an impending snow or ice storm, the distribution of meals will be conducted Jan. 27 and those who are registered will be notified of the change in plans in advance.

Each caller may reserve up to two meals and must provide the name and telephone number of each person on his or her reservation list. 

The cost of the day’s dinner is $5 with a portion of the payment for each meal going to the Rehoboth Council on Aging so “they can offer ‘comfort’ in the form of much-needed services,” said Gorman.

Another component of the fundraiser includes the Friends of the Westfield Senior Center matching any money raised through the comfort luncheon toward the total donation.

For persons wishing to make reservations or for more information, call (413) 562-6435.

“I believe that those who work with older adults should be concerned with seniors everywhere, not just those living in our own communities,” said Gorman. “Imagine if the Westfield Senior Center burned to the ground today. We’d be devastated because the services and the programs that we offer are crucial for many of the city’s older adults, especially during the pandemic.”

Gorman added that while money “cannot buy happiness,” it can certainly go a long way in restoring and sustaining much-needed services for Rehoboth’s seniors.

For Linda Sherman, director of the Rehoboth Senior Center, she noted in an email she is “very grateful for the outpouring of kindness from our Sister COA’s in Massachusetts. Our plans are to rebuild with the future in mind.”

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