A volunteer from Hilcorp distributes dinners to seniors on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A volunteer from Hilcorp distributes dinners to seniors on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Thankful to be together

Local seniors gather to give thanks for their community

The annual Area Wide Senior Thanksgiving Dinner returned to the Kenai Senior Center on Friday after being canceled for the last two years by the pandemic. Hundreds of local seniors gathered to enjoy each other’s company and partake in some seasonal dinner fare.

The dinner was hosted by the Kenai Senior Center in partnership with Hilcorp, with over 400 seniors fed; most were present on Friday, packing both the banquet hall and the other dining space at the center, but many also received their meals delivered at home.

So many were present that the parking lots of both the Kenai Senior Center and Vintage Pointe were entirely full, with cars parking along the outside of the lots, down Spur View Drive and even further down the street at Peninsula Ear Nose & Throat Clinic and Louie’s Steak & Seafood.

Kenai Senior Center Director Kathy Romain said ahead of the start of the meal, “I don’t know how many this is, but it’s a lot.”

A Hilcorp representative said before the start of the meal that they had prepared for 250 at the center, and delivered another 200 meals.

The meal included turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, cranberry salad and pumpkin pie. Attendees remained at their tables as the food was plated and distributed by over a dozen volunteers, including Hilcorp representatives and students from Mountain View Elementary School.

Lauren Issac, an attendee who said she has been in Alaska prior to statehood, said the Thanksgiving meal always draws a big crowd, and that the annual event was important to the senior community.

“We meet people we haven’t seen before, and we get reacquainted with everybody we haven’t seen in a while.”

Even so, Issac said she hadn’t ever seen so many people come out.

“This just shows you how thankful we are to be together.”

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

Volunteers from Hilcorp plate food on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Volunteers from Hilcorp plate food on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Volunteers from Hilcorp plate food on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Volunteers from Hilcorp plate food on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Mountain View Elementary School Principal Karl Kircher and student Sawyer Daniel distribute dinners to seniors on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Mountain View Elementary School Principal Karl Kircher and student Sawyer Daniel distribute dinners to seniors on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A student from Mountain View Elementary distributes dinners to seniors on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A student from Mountain View Elementary distributes dinners to seniors on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A volunteer from Hilcorp distributes dinners to seniors on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A volunteer from Hilcorp distributes dinners to seniors on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Mountain View Elementary School Principal Karl Kircher distributes dinners to seniors on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Mountain View Elementary School Principal Karl Kircher distributes dinners to seniors on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Roy Williams receives a dinner from a volunteer on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Roy Williams receives a dinner from a volunteer on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Area-Wide Senior Dinner at Kenai Seniors Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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