Seniors and students celebrate holiday traditions

By: Kathy Maynard, Loomis News Correspondent
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Senior L.I.F.E. Center

What: Non-denominational programs for South Placer seniors, 55 years and older

Where: First United Methodist Church, 6414 Brace Road

What: Activities and lunch twice weekly, special events as scheduled

When: 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays

Classes: Art, Tai Chi, quilting and sewing, stretchercise

Information: 660-0543 or


Local seniors, their guests and volunteers of all ages gathered last week for festive music and a luncheon that have become a holiday tradition.

South Placer County seniors came to the Senior L.I.F.E. Center on Dec. 13 for a performance by the Del Oro High School choir and a tasty luncheon prepared by Soroptimist International of Loomis.

More than 150 attendees were entertained by 15 choir members, who performed a variety of songs ranging from classic Christmas carols and a Hanukkah song to some amusing contemporary numbers such as “Hawaii Five-O” and the “Cough and Flu Season” set to Bach. Several audience members even joined them to sing Handel’s Messiah chorus. After performing, students joined the seniors for lunch.

“The kids absolutely love it, they look forward to it every year. They love singing anyway, but they really, truly enjoy sitting with the seniors and talking with them,“ said Lisa Sands, choir director.

Senior Roxana Knowles said, “I’ve been coming to this Christmas lunch for about three years and come to the senior center whenever I can. I have grandsons so I love the young people singing and I appreciate everything they do for the seniors.”

Volunteers from Loomis Soroptimists served their traditional Christmas lunch of ham, green salad, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes and pumpkin pie bars. Members Peggy Word and Jenny Knisley, both of Loomis, arrived at 8 a.m. to cook the entire meal in the center’s kitchen, and other club members arrived later to help set-up, serve and clean up. The women prepared enough extra to pack up leftovers for the seniors to take home.

“I wonder who made the sweet potatoes, oh were they awesome,” said Vickie Sacre, who regularly drives herself to the center from Auburn. The recipe for the popular pecan crumble-topped sweet potato casserole came from Knisley’s mother-in-law, said Word, co-owner of P&L Catering.

“It’s become a tradition. They also request the pumpkin pie cake that I started making for them about three or four years ago. I thought about serving something different for a change but they said, ‘No, no, no, we are looking forward to pumpkin pie cake,’ so I make it for both Thanksgiving and Christmas,” she said. 

Soroptimists helped found the Senior L.I.F.E. Center 35 years ago and continue to support it through volunteering, fundraising and providing the annual Thanksgiving and holiday lunches. Club members feel strongly about supporting the Center because seniors are often forgotten, and don’t get as much attention or community support as other groups, said member Cindy Dietz.

Many Soroptimists enjoy the holiday lunches as much as the seniors, she said.

“I’ve been a Soroptimist for 10 years and I’ve never missed a luncheon, even though I have a full-time job, because I love it so much. It’s fun, the people are so thrilled and grateful and so loving, it is an amazing experience,” Dietz said.

The Senior L.I.F.E. Center meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm at the First United Methodist Church of Loomis. Participants pay a $3 daily fee for a continental breakfast, healthy lunch, and participation in all the activities of the center.

Activities include card and table games, crafts, companionship and conversation as well as classes in painting, quilting and sewing, Tai Chi, Stretchersize and soon Zumba.

For more information, call Fred and Acsa Hitchens at 660-0543 or visit