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Starting the Holiday Season with Full Hearts (and Bellies)

Heather Redfern
Public Information Manager

Traditions are staples of the holiday season and for hundreds of Philadelphia seniors, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without joining together to enjoy an early feast.

On November 19, SEPTA, Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging (PCA) and Reading Terminal served up turkey dinner with all of the fixings and pie for 350 invited guests at PCA's headquarters on Broad Street. This was the 17th year PCA hosted the event, the sixth with SEPTA volunteers. "This is always a great event and a wonderful way to start the holidays," said SEPTA Deputy General Manager Rich Burnfield, while piling plates high with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and veggies. Stepping in to serve guests were PCA Vice President of Operations Louis Colbert; Reading Terminal Market General Manager Anuj Gupta and his children; PCA staff and their families; eighth graders from Our Mother of Consolation School; and members of local Girl Scout troops.

The meal was donated by many Reading Terminal Market vendors and arranged by Marion "Tootsie Iovine" D'Ambrosio, one of the Reading Terminal merchants. The verdict on the meal? A resounding "excellent" as many guests had seconds.

Hattie Williams, dressed festively in red from head to toe, was glad to have someone prepare dinner for her. "I've been cooking since I was six years old," she said. "It's wonderful to have someone do that for me."

"This is what Thanksgiving is about," said Gupta. "Being with families and friends and appreciating everything that we have."

After finishing dinner and catching up with friends old and new, guests were able to dance off the calories on the dance floor, with music provided by SEPTA employee and DJ Ervin Terrell. Lucky guests won door prizes provided by Reading Terminal merchants and PCA.

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 Burnfield.

Guests from across Philadelphia enjoyed a full Thanksgiving dinner at PCA's headquarters.

Hattie Williams, who visits PCA's Center in the Park, was dressed in her holiday finest.

PCA Vice President of Operations Louis Colbert (left) and SEPTA Deputy General Manager Rich Burnfield were on hand to serve guests.

"The Cupid Shuffle" and "Electric Slide" brought guests and the Girl Scouts to the dance floor.