EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- More than 600 seniors packed the downtown Eugene Hilton hotel on Tuesday for the county’s 34th annual Senior Holiday Dinner, one of Lane County's largest social gatherings.
Organizers started the event in 1978 in an attempt to get seniors socializing during what can be a lonely time for many. The dinner continues to be very successful with a big meal, dancing and prizes, attracting seniors year after year.
"A lot of elderly people travel and they don't have family here, so consequently, like myself, I come. This is my third or fourth year,” said Amanda Taylor, a senior who has lived in Eugene since the 1960s.
Seniors pay just $7.50 to take part. The holiday dinner wouldn’t be possible without local sponsors and volunteer servers.
"There's no county funding that goes into this program. This is all through the generosity of our community sponsors. We have the community really step in and underwrite the program,” says Sydney Shook, the holiday dinner coordinator.
"Volunteering is pleasure. It's great to help people enjoy such a marvelous season,” says Warren Higer, a holiday dinner volunteer.
On the menu for each Christmas holiday dinner is a full turkey dinner with salad, rolls, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, cranberry sauce and, of course, a slice of pumpkin pie.