Seniors Mark Holiday

ST. MARYS — Thursday’s Christmas party at Auglaize County Council on Aging brought about 100 seniors to the St. Mary’s center to watch dancing, exchange gifts, and get pictures on Santa’s lap.

The regulars at the center, however, say it’s not the entertainment or the food, but the companionship that brings them through the door.

Jodi Wertz said she visits the Wapakoneta and St. Marys locations about five times per week. Driving in a motorized chair she calls her “little red Corvette,” she said in the winter it’s difficult for her to get out of the house, but the buses who pick her up keep her from getting cabin fever.

“It’s my social life,” she said.

That’s true for a lot of people, said Evelyn Hartley, director of activities at ACCA.

“The holidays can be depressing,” Hartley said. “We need to celebrate what we’ve got. Especially with the events of the week. Depression can be more prevalent for seniors, who face changing lifestyles as they age. People need to know we’re here for them.”

Volunteers contributed to the event, including the Tri-Squares, St. Marys square dancers who performed two numbers. Volunteer Jerry Silba took the pictures of seniors who posed with Santa, Mrs. Claus, an elf, and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindog.

“It’s something nice to do,” Silba said.

Lillis Hemphill comes to the center every Tuesday for Bingo and has come to the Christmas party for at least 20 years with friend Peg Walti.

“I live alone and this means a lot to me,” Hemphill said. “Everyone is so kind.”