WEST ORANGE, NJ – Senior citizens from throughout the West Orange area recently enjoyed a day of relaxation and fun at the annual West Orange Senior Picnic, hosted by the West Orange Department of Senior Services in collaboration with several other departments throughout the township at the Ginny Duenkel Pool.
According to Senior Services Coordinator Laura Van Dyke, the picnic was attended by approximately 100 seniors, which included a mix of residents and non-residents who are enrolled in a senior group in West Orange.
F&B Fine Catering from Bloomfield catered the event, providing a summer-inspired barbeque menu consisting of hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni salad and dessert. Attendees were also treated with the musical talents of DJ Zak, who engaged the crowd with games and music that spanned the decades, according to Van Dyke.
“We had some seniors participating in these relay races and dance elimination games,” said Van Dyke. “It was fun. A small group of seniors did swim, and they enjoyed the beach balls which the pool allowed for our event.”
Several notable West Orange Township figures dropped by the picnic in order to greet and mingle with attendees, including Mayor Robert Parisi, Councilwoman Michelle Casalino, West Orange Board of Education (WOBOE) members Terry Trigg-Scales and Sandra Mordecai and newly appointed West Orange Superintendent of Schools Dr. J. Scott Cascone.
“It was great to have him [Cascone] make an appearance and greet our guests,” said Van Dyke.
According to Van Dyke, this event would not have been possible without the collaboration from the many departments found throughout the Township of West Orange, including the West Orange Recreation Department, the Department of Public Works (DPW), the Department of Health, the Department of Senior Services, the Mayor’s Office, the West Orange Police Department (WOPD) and the West Orange Fire Department (WOFD), members of which also helped to serve food to guests.
“We also have community volunteers, including students from Roosevelt Middle School and West Orange High School (WOHS)—two of those were my sons—who assisted us,” Van Dyke said. “Many have been volunteering for years.”
She added that the “Department of Senior Services often collaborates with students throughout the school district” on several projects.
Liberty Middle School’s Helping Hands Committee previously helped to serve seniors at the department’s Halloween party; WOHS special education teacher Mallory DeMarco’s students helped prepare the garden beds for the department’s Senior Gardening Program; and WOHS students have assisted seniors with technology support.
Van Dyke also mentioned that more exciting events are currently in the works and will be part of the discussion when the Department of Senior Services meets with WOHS Dean of Students Stephan Zichella “later this month to plan [their] collaborative efforts.”