As their center remains closed, township seniors gather in person

Washington Lake Park picnic draws more than 100 people

Seniors gathered under the pavilion at Washington Lake Park on June 10 for their Senior Picnic.

Unable to gather for more than 18 months, members of the township’s senior center were welcomed with a picnic at Washington Lake Park on June 10 that drew more than 100 people.

“They really enjoyed themselves; it was nice,” said Lori Morello, director of the township’s Senior Programs and Community Affairs. “I was a little nervous, because early that morning, it looked like Mother Nature was going to change her mind and rain … But I didn’t want to cancel on the senior citizens for anything. They look forward to these things.” 

Washington Township Mayor Joann Gattinelli greeted the seniors and vendors from Republic Bank, Jefferson Health and Humana Insurance were on hand.

“It was hard to capture every moment, because some of them haven’t seen each other for months,” Morello noted. “They were crying when they saw each other and it was very humbling.” 

Each senior was given a lunch tote with a sandwich container, a Rita’s coupon and a marigold. Morello thought the totes would be useful when the seniors returned to the  still-closed center with their packed lunches. While a center reopening date has not yet been announced, Morello has surprises in store for members.

“After what everyone went through, the seniors lost something that is just irreplaceable,” she said. “Not that the rest of us didn’t, but they don’t have 18 months to lose where they do nothing and they were by themselves.” 

To become a member of the senior center, reach out to Morello at (856) 589-0520, ext. 2287 or lmorello@twp.washington.nj.us..

Seniors in need of food assistance can also reach out to Morello to get set up with the Washington Township nonprofit Mother’s Cupboard. This organization distributes food to resident seniors in need at least once a week.