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Friends, Food and Fun at Jefferson Station

Heather Redfern
SEPTA Public Informaton Manager

What do you do with 25 turkeys, 100 pounds of sweet potatoes and 70 pounds of green beans? Why not invite hundreds of your friends to a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner? And where do you host the guests? How about Jefferson Station?

SEPTA, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) and Reading Terminal Market made sure that 300 older Philadelphians had a holiday celebration with friends, food and festivities at Jefferson Station on November 22. This was the fourth time SEPTA hosted the dinner at the station and the 16th year PCA had invited guests from senior centers across the city to a holiday feast donated by many Reading Terminal Market vendors and arranged by Marion "Tootsie Iovine" D'Ambrosio, one of the Reading Terminal merchants.

"This is a nice way to start the holiday season," said Justine Powell, who traveled to the party from West Philadelphia. "There's good food and entertainment. The hosts are very generous." Guests couldn't wait for the plates piled with turkey and all the sides to be placed on the table. They were also looking forward to catching up with friends they hadn't seen since last year's party. First time attendees Evelyn Estrada and Adel Mena were taking in all in. "It's wonderful," said Estrada. "This is a good social gathering with other seniors." After finishing dinner and making new acquaintances, Estrada and Mena worked off the extra calories on the dance floor, with music provided by SEPTA employee and DJ Ervin Terrell.

Most of the guests attending the event are SEPTA customers and used the system or CCT as their rides to party. "This is a terrific way to give back to our valued riders," said Deputy General Manager Richard Burnfield, who welcomed partygoers to the "Ballroom at Jefferson", and along with Assistant General Managers Susan Van Buren and Bob Lund, waited tables. Also stepping in as servers were PCA Senior Vice President Holly Lange, Reading Terminal Market GM Anuj Gupta, local Girl Scouts and members of the Penn Jersey Roller Derby.

"This is a chance for us to say thanks for all we have and to celebrate with our big Philadelphia family," said Gupta. After hot coffee, pie and more dancing, the guests made their way back home, bellies full of good food, hearts full of best wishes and thoughts turning to next year's festivities.

SEPTA Deputy General Manager Richard Burnfield spent the afternoon serving guests at Jefferson Station.

Also utilizing his waiter skills was SEPTA Assistant GM Bob Lund.

First time guests Adel Mena and Evelyn Estrada enjoyed the food, dancing and conversation.

After serving guests, SEPTA Assistant GM Susan Van Buren took to the dance floor with partygoers like Nora Jackson.

Participating in the PCA Thanksgiving Dinner at Jefferson Station were (from left): Assistant GM Susan Van Buren; Reading Terminal Market GM Anuj Gupta and his daughter; PCA President and CEO Holly Lange; SEPTA Deputy GM Richard Burnfield; Reading Terminal Merchants Bobby Iovine and Marion "Tootsie Iovine" D'Ambrosio; and SEPTA Assistant GM Bob Lund.