March 28, 2005 – The St. Croix community paid tribute to its elders by hosting an Easter Sunday luncheon at Whim Gardens. The gathering has been repeated each Easter for over a decade.
Residents of the Whim Gardens Home for the Elderly filed past the buffet table taking their fill of turkey, ham, fish and all the trimmings. For dessert there was carrot cake. Each senior received a brightly-colored Easter basket filled with goodies and a small stuffed bear. The smiles of appreciation and words of thanks were all the volunteers needed to see to know once again they had brought joy to the elders of the community. The luncheon was held in the centers breezy alcove, with yellow cloths and purple bougainvillea decorating each table.
Unise Tranberg, owner of Pier 69 Restaurant in Frederiksted, was one of the volunteers who has participated in the luncheons from the beginning.
"In 1993 some Frederiksted business owners decided to do something good for the senior citizens, we decided to host a luncheon at Whim Gardens," Tranberg said. "In 1997 the Frederiksted Economic Development Association took it over, and we've done it every year since."
Josephine Alicia, 74, a six-year resident of the Gardens and its tenant council president, said the residents enjoy the luncheon. "It's good," she said. "We cant complain. They do it every year and treat us very well."
The annual luncheon is a community affair. Volunteers come out every year to make this day a success for the seniors.
Dean Roberts, a teacher at St. Croix Education Complex, was there with eight members of his drama class. "This is our fifth year participating," Roberts said. "The students earn bonus points on their class grade and community service hours."
This is the fourth year for volunteer Larry Quinn. He was visiting St. Croix on vacation the first time he got involved. "I was on a cruise ship that pulled into Frederiksted on Good Friday, I came into Pier 69 and all these people were decorating Easter eggs; I joined in." Quinn moved to St. Croix a year later and continued contributing to the Easter gala. Every year Quinn buys a case of eggs and dye, and decorates eggs for the senior's baskets along with other volunteers. Quinn said 150 baskets were made this year, with two hard-boiled eggs in each.
Gregory Bennerson has been involved since 1999. This year he brought his 17-year-old son, Daniel to help. "It's a family affair," Bennerson said.
Jack Carson, a five-year veteran, said the work is very rewarding. "I get to see the seniors, they remember us and we remember them. We work hard and have fun."
"Its something I always wanted to do," Arnold Golden, a first time volunteer said. "It's a lovely affair."
James Ross, FEDA president, said the organization "is honored and proud to reach out and share the joys of Easter with senior citizens who have contributed so much to our foundation."
The Farmer's Market, Merchant's Market and the West Indies Corporation contributed to the luncheon. Other volunteers were Carmen and Quina OReilly, Melody Rames, Cheryl Simmins and Gloria Singho. Complex students were; Evana Abraham, Ivory Carter, Bernard Frederick, Kemi Lay, Rayford Matthew, Imran Mohammed, Magdaline Ovesen and Chantel Peter.
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