Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Volunteers Spend Christmas Helping Others in St. Louis Area

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Volunteers Spend Christmas Helping Others in St. Louis Area

Article excerpt

The holidays were off to a sweet start for Elva and Reva King, a Chesterfield couple married for more than 70 years.

The Kings were among approximately 400 seniors helped on Christmas by the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging, a nonprofit group that provides services for people 60 and over in St. Louis, St. Charles, Franklin and Jefferson counties.

Agency volunteers spent the morning packing meals and holidays bags and then personally delivered the items.

"Having someone show up on Christmas morning to share a little holiday joy means so much to these seniors," said Mary Schaefer, the agency's executive director.

The Kings receive meals from the agency not just on holidays but throughout the week. The Kings, who are both 92, called the center's Meals on Wheels program "the greatest invention."

"It's always good," Mr. King said. "And I'm not able to cook."

Mrs. King, who worked as a bank teller, spends much of the day in a pink, flowery recliner because she has difficulty walking. Mr. King, a pipe fitter for 20 years, is mobile but sometimes loses his balance. The Kings said that because they have no family in the area, they must rely on friends and volunteers for help.

The couple said they were grateful this holiday season.

"We have no regrets," Mrs. King said. "We've done everything we wanted to" in life.

Jews and Muslims in the region also celebrated the holiday by helping others. As part of the fourth annual Jewish and Muslim Day of Community Service, organized by the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis and the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, volunteers scoured the city for the best locations to spread holiday cheer.

Some spent time at the St. Louis Crisis Nursery, which provides emergency intervention for troubled families. Others packed schools supplies for Normandy School District students.

One group of volunteers visited the Schirmer House, a transitional living facility for female ex-offenders managed by the nonprofit Center for Women in Transition. …

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