The Westmont Hilltop Key Club is preparing for its 17th annual Thanks and Thanksgiving Luncheon to honor senior citizens at noon Nov. 16 at the high school.
About 300 guests are expected to attend the event, organized by the Key Club and sponsored by both the school district and the Westmont Hilltop Education Association.
There is no cost to seniors.
Maiya Mastovich, Key Club president, said senior citizens have done much for our community and country.
“It’s important to recognize and honor them for their help,” said the sophomore, who helped with the event last year.
“It’s a time for them to relax and enjoy a nice meal and a performance,” she said.
Maiya said the project is one of a number that the Key Club organizes throughout the year.
“I feel that everyone gets into it because they enjoy helping others,” she said.
Bridget Moyer, Key Club vice president, said senior citizens enjoy seeing others doing something to help the community because they have served the community themselves.
“It helps them to connect with the younger generation,” she said about the bond that the two generations will develop during the event.
Being near Thanksgiving Day, the event is designed to bring the joy of the holiday to seniors and raise money for Key Club projects. Club members will accept donations from senior citizens during the event, the sophomore said.
Bridget said a recent project was helping with the Westwood Kiwanis Club’s annual Halloween party for children.
The Key Club took care of the children while on the hayride and helped them to make crafts and decorate pumpkins.
Liz Petrell, a senior and Key Club treasurer, has been helping with the project since she was a freshman.
“I really enjoy it,” she said. “It’s nice to see the smiling faces of the senior citizens.”
The seniors deserve to be recognized for what they have done for our country and community, she said.
Another important reason to hold the event is because many students want to help the community but don’t know how.
“The luncheon is a good opportunity for those students to interact with the community,” Liz said.
“I personally think it’s a good idea to do community service. That’s what the Key Club is all about.”
For their efforts with the luncheon, the three are the Persons of the Week.
Susan J. Anderson, school district superintendent, said the luncheon is an opportunity to thank senior citizens for their constant support and faithful presence at school programs, artistic presentations and sporting events.
“The intergenerational Thanksgiving celebration has been a blessing to all, as our students learn the gratification of community service and the joy of interaction with our gracious and appreciative guests,” she said.
“Our students serve tirelessly before, during and after the event, and they honor their school and their community in doing so.”
Suzanne J. Updyke, Key Club adviser, said she is always amazed at the ingenuity and compassion with which the students approach community service.
“They serve the seniors by creating a fall-foliage atmosphere in the cafeteria the day before, made complete with candlelight and handmade place mats from the elementary students,” she said.
“The day of the event, about 70 Key Clubbers will dress in waiter attire and, along with faculty members from the school, escort arriving guests into the auditorium for a high school musical performance.
“Then, our guests are led into the cafeteria, where the tables have been set by club members with salad and pumpkin pie.”
The event teaches students what a blessing it is to help others, Updyke said.
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