Young and old celebrate Christmas at Riverview Apartments
At two separate parties, children and seniors at Springfield Housing Authority made it official – everyone loves Christmas.
First there was an evening affair for two dozen children in the after-school program run by ADC Prevention Services of Springfield. That party featured a spaghetti dinner and gifts for children who attend the programs at Riverview as well as Duggan and Moxon Apartments, which the agency also serves.
The following day, seniors celebrated with a grand buffet luncheon, salsa dancing and visits by officials including SHA Executive Director Denise Jordan, state Sen. James Welch, state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, newly elected Register of Deeds Cheryl Coakley Rivera, and many more friends.
The children’s dinner included gifts and a welcome by the Springfield chapter of the National Association for Black Veterans, with members including Milton Jones, Sammie Smith Jr., Joyce Jessup and Commander Tony Bass attending.
The veterans’ organization brought gifts from the Western Mass Marine Toys for Tots program. Riverview is one of the many stops the group makes to ensure all children have holiday presents.
“This is just to bring a little joy to children who don’t necessarily have the advantages that many other children have – to give them the full benefits of Christmas,” Bass said.
“And we love doing this. It’s always just wonderful to see the smiles on the children’s faces,” he added.
ADC President and Owner Arnold D. Cox agreed, saying, “We’re always trying to make the world a bit brighter for our children, and Christmas is such a special time that we want everyone to feel the joy of it.”
ADC Program Manager Sally Hardy thanked all her staff and the volunteers who made the night a perfect holiday event.
“We’re a community, and we celebrate as a community,” she said.
The seniors’ celebrating was organized and put on by the Riverview Tenants Association, with President Raquel Sanchez and Secretary Maureen Solomon presiding over the fun.
The luncheon featured roasted chicken, pork, rice and beans, potato salad, Pasteles de Masa, coconut rice and more, with a Latino flavor that reflects many of the residents and their heritage.
“Everyone worked hard to make this happen,” said Sanchez. “We want our residents to celebrate together, with all of us, at the holidays.”
Jordan praised the efforts of all who helped out, and marveled at the crowd, which was bigger by far than usual.
“This is a great crew of people here at Riverview,” Jordan said. “They always make us feel welcome and they surely know how to celebrate.”
Gonzalez holds the Riverview residents close to his heart, as they were among the first to support him when he ran for state office four years ago.
“These people are like family to me,” he said. “I love them. They remind me of my own mother. Just being here is a tribute.”
With a Santa hat perched on his bright red hair, Welch enjoyed a bit of salsa dancing with residents, saying, “This is definitely a great group of people and a great celebration of the holiday season.”
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