COA hosts holiday luncheon

Santa adds some ladies to the nice list. Photos by Alex Oliveira

By Alex Oliveira
Hometown Weekly Reporter

The Westwood Council on Aging hosted their annual Holiday Luncheon this past Wednesday at the NorFolk Golf Club.

With light streaming in off the fairways and across the packed dining room, 135 senior members of the Westwood community, town representatives, the police department and the North Pole enjoyed a lunch buffet, live harp music, a raffle sponsored by COA supporters, and each other’s company on the sunny afternoon.

“I want to thank the people who throughout the year make the center a very special place,” COA director Lina Arena-DeRosa said to start out the lunch. “So many people thank me, but I have to say, it’s a team effort.”

One of Sgt. John Saleda’s many stops throughout the room.  By Alex Oliveira

One of Sgt. John Saleda’s many stops throughout the room. By Alex Oliveira

This was the first year the event was held at the NorFolk Golf Club. After selling out in five minutes last year, COA board member and former NorFolk Golf Club president Bill Sebet asked the Club to donate their space for the event.

“The club had no problem with it,” according to Sebet. “The board said, right away: ‘Absolutely, whatever they need.’ There’s a very good relationship between the COA and the club.”

With the new space, attendance doubled from last year, selling out in ten minutes this time around. “This has worked out good, except its looking like it’s going to be too small for next year!” Sebet said with a laugh.

Gift baskets stuffed with groceries, gift cards, cash and scratch tickets were donated by local businesses and raffled off throughout the lunch.

“Our goal was to raise $4,000 and we reached $6,000,” Arena-DeRosa said. “One hundred percent of the proceeds go to elders in the community; you’re helping your friends and your neighbors. Everybody who bought a ticket - ten dollars, a hundred, even one dollar - it all got us to our goal, so thank you!”

The buzz and burble of the room’s revelry was a fitting send-off to a great year at the Council on Aging, and according to Sebet, the credit belongs to Lina. “She’s turned this place upside-down. We’re up sixty percent involvement since she came. She’s such a go-getter. She’s not afraid to get up in front of town meetings and say, ‘We need this.’ I could sit here and talk to you for three hours about how great she is.”

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