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ConVal High School Interact Club member Lillian Sawyer, 16, of Peterborough serves mashed sweet potatoes to Constance and Ed Blanchette at the Friends of the Senior Dinner at the Monadnock Country Club in Peterborough Tuesday. (MEGHAN PIERCE/Union Leader Correspondent)

Seniors celebrate the season at annual Peterborough dinner

PETERBOROUGH -- The friends of the Senior Dinner hit its 20-year milestone Tuesday serving more than 100 seniors a festive holiday meal.

Smiles and greetings of "Merry Christmas" filled the banquet hall of the Monadnock Country Club in Peterborough Tuesday at noon for the free annual event that fed and entertained 115 seniors this year.

The event is run by the Kiwanis Club.

At the center of the event again this year was Kiwanis Club member and Peterborough Police Sgt. Ernest Belletete, who has been volunteering at the dinner for the past 19 years.

In between chatting with seniors and managing the volunteers serving the meal, Belletete found time to sit and eat a quick bite with his mother, Judy Belletete of Jaffrey.

"It's our 20th year," he said. "It's all donated. All the food is donated by service organizations and businesses."

Belletete said this year all 10 turkeys were donated by the Peterborough Food Pantry and were cooked at home by volunteers.

"This is a great meal. This is a home-cooked turkey. It's the way it should be," said 85-year-old Ed Blanchette, who has been coming to the dinner for many years with his wife, Constance.

Iona French and her husband Donald have also being attending the event for years, they said.

"It's great. You get out. You meet all your friends," Iona French said. "We're so privileged. We really are."

As is tradition, the ConVal High School Interact students waited on the seniors along with longtime returning volunteers from the community. The South Meadow School Select Chorus performed.

The event was sponsored by All Saints Parish, the Sunshine Fund, Shaw's, Nonie's Restaurant and Bakery, Roy's Market, and both the Peterborough police and fire associations.

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Meghan Pierce may be reached at mpierce@newstote.com.



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