MILO, Maine — Gerry Comeau, 85, of Milo, who used to winter in Florida, was having a blast Wednesday playing a card game called Hand and Foot with several women.
Every once in a while Comeau would look over at Natalie Harris, 92, who was seated next to her, and make a comment about her cards.
Asked what drew her to the gatherings, Comeau laughed and said, “Because I’m nosy.”
When Comeau realized the other card players were waiting for her to take her turn, she looked down at her cards and then around the table. “Where’s my foot?” she asked innocently. “Oh, it’s in my hand,” she said, which cracked up everyone at the table.
Comeau and Harris were among about 20 other Milo-area senior citizens who were gathered at the Warming Center in the Park Street Methodist Church for a day of camaraderie and a hot meal. Some wore their Sunday best while others wore jeans and T-shirts, but regardless of what they had on for clothing, they all appeared to be enjoying themselves.
Jean Robinson said the church had discussed opening the building as a warming center more than a year ago, but a fire that damaged the church delayed the project until earlier this month.
“We felt there was a need, not so much for warming up, but also for fellowship for those who might be lonely,” Robinson said. Since money is tight for many senior citizens, members figured the Warming Center would give them an opportunity to get out, have a meal and visit with others, regardless of their religion, and it has done just that, she said. Even a few children came to the center last week during school vacation, according to Robinson.
On Wednesday, Walter and Nancy Cook of Brownville had made a hearty soup for the participants. Each week, all the food is donated and typically the meal consists of soup and sandwiches.
Walter Cook, who was helping Betty Sickler, 83, assemble a difficult puzzle, said he really enjoys helping people.
Volunteers Donald Harris, Rosalie Seavey and Hope Dyer said it makes them feel good inside to help others who really are in need or who just want some companionship and a chance to get out of their homes.
And that’s what Gloria Lutterell, 86, was looking for when she started attending the weekly events. “It gives me something to look forward to and it’s a new routine,” she said.
“It’s what we need at this age.”