Just because one is not 18 anymore, does not mean they should not get to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Thanks to the Central Illinois Agency on Aging, even those in their 80s and 90s can bring in the New Year with all the youngsters.
Volunteer Cynthia Smith has been working to help the elderly enjoy New Year’s Eve celebrations now for more than two-and-a-half decades with this organization. For those who are housebound, they are getting a meal and a party. This way they start the new year in the right way, in a very fun, positive way.
It’s so important for everyone – elderly included – to feel that they are a part of something, connected to the community, and joining in cyclical milestones. As Smith explained: “Some people are so excited to see somebody there and they’re so thankful that they do have a meal this very first morning and they’re just excited about it.” In addition, for those who volunteer to help this happen, they get something out of it. Smith said: “It’s a joy and it gives you some peace to know that somebody is being helped.” One of the agency workers, Beth Stalker, also commended the effort. She said: “It gives me the chills, you know, this is something they don’t have to do, this is their day off as well.”
And then, in Chicago, an elderly street vendor was given a wonderful New Year’s surprise for his efforts over the years. A GoFundMe campaign was set up by Joel Cervantes and Jose Loera who decided that 89-year-old street vendor Fidencio Sanchez deserved something a little extra to see the New Year in with. As such they raised over $370,000 which they presented to him on the 31st December 2016 at the Corona Beach House Party during Chi-Town Rising.