ORANGE, NJ — Newark native and Orange resident Ralph Bright and his wife, Sally, were just two of the dozens of local senior citizens who took part in Mayor Dwayne Warren’s annual Senior Christmas Holiday Party at Bella Italia restaurant Thursday, Dec. 14.
“The Fountain of Youth is in Newark, down at the South Ward,” said Bright on Thursday, Dec. 14. He acknowledged that, even though neither he nor his wife look like they’re old enough to be considered senior citizens, they are. “Newark has the best water, because nobody knows how old I am. And it’s the best water to make Kool-Aid.”
Bright and fellow seniors, such as Shirley Hendricks, said the annual event is a must on the calendar for the city’s seniors. It featured a buffet-style brunch, holiday-themed decorations, a raffle conducted by Warren, table service by members of the Orange Fire Department, a performance by Park Avenue School dance teacher and Orange Dance Conservatory Director Debbie Rembert’s dancers, and holiday music piped in by the restaurant.
“I’m having a happy holiday. I’m trying to go off of my diet and have a wonderful brunch, with all of my friends and neighbors,” said Hendricks on Thursday, Dec. 14. “It’s for fellowship, getting together at least once a year. Everybody’s in their home or on their phone, so we get out of both and enjoy one another.”
Elroy Corbitt, a former councilman and current city employee is not a senior citizen, but said he was happy to attend the party as a volunteer server, along with the firefighters. He added that he appreciated the event.
“This is an opportunity for the mayor and the city to give back to the seniors that have done so much for all of us,” said Corbitt on Thursday, Dec. 14. “We all stand on the shoulders of the giants that came before us and that includes our senior citizens that are still alive today. We should always take any chance that we have on every occasion to say, ‘Thank you’ to the people that have done so much for us. We wouldn’t be here without them.”
Ralph and Sally Bright agreed with Corbitt.
“It’s important, because the mayor wants everyone to know that he supports the seniors and they try to do as much as they can for the seniors and the community,” said Sally Bright on Thursday, Dec. 14. “And the seniors support him.”