MILTON — When something bad happens, the people of Milton respond and pool their resources to fill the void.

This year’s Senior Thanksgiving Luncheon was in jeopardy when the Milton Senior Program learned one of their primary organizations was unable to help.

Several organizations such as the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Santa Rosa County, The University of Florida/IFS West Florida Research and Education Center, UF/IFS Extension Family Nutrition Program, Blackwater Pyrates, and the Santa Rosa County Home and Community Educators (HCE) pulled their various resources together to make sure there would be a Thanksgiving Senior Luncheon for seniors who would be alone this holiday.

"When we learned that there might not be a Thanksgiving for the seniors in our community, that was unacceptable," Milton Senior Program Coordinator Joe Paschal said. "That was something we could not let happen, so we went to work and pooled the resources we had in the community.

"Thanks to all of these organizations, 100 seniors will have a delicious Thanksgiving lunch and will not be alone this coming holiday."

Besides a delicious and nutritious Thanksgiving meal, the event offered something to the seniors that money cannot buy.

"Socialization is critical to seniors’ well-being especially around the holidays, not just Thanksgiving," RSVP Director Faye Henry said. "Many times, seniors will be home alone due to family being out of town, unable to come home or worse yet, all of their family or friends are no longer around. This event fills so many needs on so many levels, that if it didn’t happen it would be tragic."

Members of the Santa Rosa County HCE along with members of the UF/IFS Extension Family Nutrition Program gathered to start making preparations for the Thanksgiving meal while also working on taking care of their own families.

"As soon as I mentioned the need, I saw a tremendous response from the UF/IFS Extension Family Nutrition program staff, the Santa Rosa County HCE ladies, and members of the Blackwater Pyrates," Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent Ginny Hinton said. "We are a part of Milton and Santa Rosa County and we believe in giving back to the community. This is one way we can do our part."

This annual event is just one of the many programs put on through the Milton Community Center Senior Program.

"We are so very thankful for each organization and what they are doing there are just not enough words or ways we express our gratitude," Paschal said.

For more information about Senior Program at The Guy Thompson Community Center and its offerings, check us out on the web at