SE seniors thankful for Moose meals

See how this early Thanksgiving day dinner nourishes the bodies and nurtures the spirits of their area’s senior citizens …

Job’s Daughter Kelsey Richert serves early Thanksgiving dinner guest Beryl Parker.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Thanksgiving Day comes early – November 18 – at the Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge 291 in SE Portland. This feast, a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, is served to the area’s senior citizens as a community outreach project.

In the lodge’s community hall, volunteers from Job’s Daughters of Friendship Lodge seat guests and serve plated dinners, rolls, and beverages.

After guest Beryl Parker is treated to this first-class service by volunteer Kelsey Richert she looks pleased and says, “This is beautiful. This is good food, and a lot of it! What a wonderful dinner they’re putting out.”

Lorna Lawrence, the organizer of the event and a member of Women of the Moose, Chapter 297 at Lodge 291, tells us about their event. “This is our fifth year we’re serving a free Thanksgiving dinner for all seniors in our neighborhood.”

Their program is simple: They distribute invitations throughout the neighborhood inviting seniors to come in for Thanksgiving dinner.

The young ladies, Job’s Daughters from the Friendship Lodge, serve up dinners dished up by event coordinator Lorna Lawrence.

Only Thanksgiving Day dinner for some
“We just had a gentleman come in,” Lawrence says, “he says this is the only Thanksgiving he has. It is his fourth year he’s come by.”

Asked why the lodge members sponsor this event, Lawrence explains, “We like to give back to our community.” We’re a community-service-based organization.

In addition to providing service to their local neighborhood, she says that the Moose Lodge also has senior citizen centers in two cities other than Portland, and also supports an orphanage in Chicago, IL.

Moose meals on Wheels
“We also provide meals for shut-ins,” says Lawrence. “We find drivers to deliver meals to about a dozen people around the neighborhood. Some are too ill or disabled to travel; others don’t drive.

Mildred Delaney and Colleen Roseberry tuck into a dinner.

The fragrant and savory aromas of roast turkey, bread dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy fills our nostrils. We notice a red jar labeled “donations” and ask if we could contribute – and enjoy an early Thanksgiving dinner.

“Of course!” Lawrence says. “Have a seat. One can’t have too many good Thanksgiving dinners.”

By the way, the meal was a toothsome repast – and the portions so generous, we took the pumpkin pie home to enjoy later.

Holiday Bazaar Dec. 7-9
Lawrence asked if we would mention their Annual Holiday Bazaar, held December 7, 8 and 9 here in the Moose Lodge.

“All of the funds we raise from the event go toward our Christmas community service project. We’re adopting two families for the Salvation Army. You’re sure to find great gifts and treats here, and the money will help us buy gifts, a dinner a tree and some decorations for the families.”

The Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge 291 is on the corner of SE 52nd Avenue and Flavel Street at 7414 SE 52nd Avenue, in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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