Winslow Township organizations hosted the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon Nov. 16, a free afternoon event aimed at informing and better protecting older seniors.
The Winslow Township Drug & Alcohol Alliance sponsored the event, along with the Winslow Township Board of Health and Governor’s Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, at the Bud Duble Senior Center.
In attendance to offer support was Mayor Barry Wright, who said the program is essential to show the township actively cares about its seniors and wants to provide for them whenever possible.
“Seniors and children are the most vulnerable segments of our population,” Wright noted. “Seniors, in particular, are very susceptible to scams and dishonest people. And of course, they’re also very susceptible to medical issues as they get older as well.”
Wright told the luncheon audience about his personal battles with multiple heart attacks and various forms of cancer, emphasizing that the township and its elected officials have a responsibility to care for seniors with their own health complications.
“We have an obligation, as government, to provide for the most vulnerable segments in our society,” the mayor emphasized.
The luncheon featured vendors from local businesses and medical professionals who spoke during the program and met with individuals about multiple issues facing seniors as they age, including diet changes, diabetes, the need for exercise and cholesterol.
Board members of the Sicklerville-based Men Empowering Nations (MEN) also supported the event, where area students who participate in the nonprofit program helpied set up and provide a free lunch to the more than 50 seniors who attended.
Founder and President Virgil Carman, Jr. helped first set up the event through his work with the Winslow Township Municipal Drug and Alcohol Alliance in 2006. Originally called the Brown Bag Lunch, the luncheon eventually represented the joint effort of MEN and the alliance.
As the event continues to grow, Carman said it should continue to adapt to ever-evolving senior needs. This year, an emphasis was placed on diabetes; a medical professional spoke about the topic and answered audience questions.
“Primarily as we get older, the body begins to change and they need to be fed various information,” Carman said of seniors. “So this year I was told that we need a doctor to speak about some specific topics, including diabetes more importantly.”
The help Men Empowering Nations has provided to the annual luncheon has been crucial to its continued success. Wright also praised the guidance given to area students by various mentors.
“The whole group of mentors have just been amazing,” the mayor stressed. “Our youth today have it much more difficult than they did when I was young … they just don’t have that person that’s going to guide them along the right path. But Men Empowering Nations has stepped up to the plate and been that extra boost to those that might need it.”