SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Members of the South Plainfield Senior Center were treated to a special breakfast last Saturday served up by three local businesses.
On the morning of Feb. 1, over 100 seniors attended the center’s monthly Super Saturday and had the opportunity to feast on a breakfast that included made-to-order omelets along with bacon, pork roll, sausage, corn beef hash, scrambled eggs, potatoes, pancakes, and more courtesy of Sal’s Spirit Shoppe, Twin City Pharmacy and the McCriskin-Gustafson Family of Funeral Homes.
“The three of us do a lot of stuff in town but wanted to do something special for the seniors,” said Sal Severeni, owner of the Park Avenue liquor store and bar. “We decided to get together and offer this breakfast.”
“The seniors are the biggest growing population we have and it’s our responsibility to take care of them,” said Bill Ashnault, co-owner of Twin City. “Not everybody has someone to do that.”
Prep work for the breakfast began the night before with volunteers arriving at 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning ready to fire up the grill. From 8 to 11 a.m., Ashnault and Tom Cassio of Twin City, James Gustafson and Ricky McCriskin of the funeral home, and Severeni, along with Severini’s son Guy, Cassio’s wife Siobhan, Gustafson’s mom Pat, Tim Kelly, Tom Walsh manned the kitchen while Anthony Barbara and John Sikora assisted with orders.
“You can’t beat this town and the people,” said senior center member Jean Martin. “These business owners work really hard at their jobs and then come here, on a Saturday morning, to give back and do this for us. It was wonderful.”
Additionally, during the breakfast, close to 30 student volunteers, including members of the South Plainfield High School National Honor Society, worked in shifts to take orders, deliver them to the kitchen, and run plates back to the tables.
“The kids did a fantastic job and were interacting with the seniors. We haven’t really seen that kind of interaction in a long time,” said Ashnault, adding, “It feels good to see that and makes what we are doing here even more special.”
“The kids really did a great job,” added Barbara. “We couldn’t have asked for a better group to help.”
Senior center member Ginny Petrielo agreed, “The students were great and so friendly and attentive. They kept coming back to make sure everything was okay and to ask us what we needed.”
“It was great to see local businesses coming together to give back to the seniors of South Plainfield,” said Mayor Matt Anesh who, along with Council President Christine Faustini, attended the breakfast. “What a great way to show support for the community and our seniors.”
The South Plainfield Senior Center offers a Super Saturday event once a month and, according to Director Tree Olano, events such as the breakfast are something members look forward to.
“The seniors really enjoy our Super Saturdays, and we had a tremendous turnout for this one. It was so thoughtful of our local businesses to offer to come in and provide a breakfast," Olano said, extending thanks on behalf of herself as well as Sharon Ciullo and Linda Fiore of the center to all involved, including the students. “What a great way to bring everyone together to give back to our members. We are very thankful."
Center member Dottie Ewing agreed. “This is a wonderful event for the seniors and so very generous and thoughtful of the businesses. They must think highly of the seniors to do this.”
“This truly was an event in which everyone was able to get together – the businesses, the seniors, and the students,” said Gustafson. “It’s about coming together with family and close friends who are so much a part of our lives and giving back. It was great to see something that started as just an idea turn into a successful event.”
“Our hope,” added Severeni, “is to continue doing this every couple of months as a way to give back to the seniors.”
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