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A place to eat together: Goose Creek's senior Thanksgiving Dinner still going strong after 10 years

About 100 people turned out for the annual holiday luncheon held for senior citizens in the Goose Creek community who want to stay active and social or who don’t want to feel alone during Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving for Seniors event has been held for nearly a decade — even COVID-19 couldn’t stop it in 2020. And like in 2020, on Nov. 17 this year, attendees gathered in a different location instead of Metro North Church on Central Avenue, where it is normally held. It was held at the Michael Heitzler Recreation Complex.

“We do this every year,” said Nicole Herrera-Murray, assistant recreation director with Goose Creek. “We offer a — free for Goose Creek residents — senior luncheon, so that way they can gather for fellowship and community.”

The U.S. Census Bureau shows Goose Creek having about 50,000 residents in 2019, and 10 percent of those were 65 or older. For some of them, the days of the large family dinners have passed.

Now dining with some like-minded folks is the new holiday gathering, and it’s well received.

“I go to the senior center and there is probably 45 to 50 people from there and then neighbors and friends,” said Shirley Anderson who has lived in Goose Creek for four years. “It’s just nice to be with friends and enjoy a good meal. … It’s just nice to share a meal with somebody and not eat alone.”

The luncheon is easy on the budget. It’s free for Goose Creek residents and just $5 for non-residents. Organizers have had to decrease the number once again this year from about 150 to about 100 guests.

“People that live alone can get together and have a meal together,” said Goose Creek resident Sharon Hall. “You don’t want to do Thanksgiving all by yourself.”

All is not lost if you miss the November gathering — the city is bringing back the Senior Christmas Dinner this year as well. It will also be held at the recreation center, on Dec. 8.

Like the Thanksgiving luncheon, it is free for Goose Creek senior citizens. Tickets will be available at the Goose Creek Community Center starting Nov. 22, after the Thanksgiving Banquet. The deadline is Dec. 3 or until tickets are gone.

“We just love to get people out to enjoy each other’s company,” said Herrera-Murray.