Sen. Sanders sponsors holiday party for seniors

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BENNINGTON — The office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sponsored a holiday meal for over 100 seniors in Bennington on Friday, part of a statewide campaign.

The luncheon was hosted by St. Peter's Episcopal Church and catered by Bennington County Meals on Wheels. This is the second time Sanders' staff have held a luncheon for seniors at the church this year, after a panel discussion on healthcare in August.

Haley Pero from the Senator's office thanked everyone for attending, and praised St. Peter's and Meals on Wheels, without whom she said the event could never have taken place. "We're so happy to have all of you come out to this dinner," she said. During the meal, she and two others staffed moved about the room to take questions and comments from the seniors in attendance.

The luncheon was one of six holiday dinners for seniors that Sanders' office organized around the state this month.

During the meal, the Mount Anthony Union Chamber Singers, under the direction of Lynn Sweet, performed Christmas carols for the attendees.

Meals on Wheels Executive Chef Marin Iwashka said that they would be serving 135 meals to seniors at the event.

Bennington County Meals on Wheels serves between 48,000 and 50,000 meals annually, through home deliveries and meals provided at their locations in Bennington, Manchester, Arlington, Pownal, and Stamford, said assistant director Vicki Gardner. She said her organization relies on donations to carry out its work, such as the one from Sanders' office that made Friday's luncheon possible.

"We have a gap (in funding) for every meal we serve, so the funding is very important," she said.

If you would like to learn more about Meals on Wheels, or make a donation, visit their website at mowbennington.org. Donations can be sent to 124 Pleasant St., Bennington, 05201.

Derek Carson can be reached at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com, at @DerekCarsonBB on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 122.

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