Spencer New Leader
LEICESTER — During their visit to the Senior Center last week, Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis and his team celebrated the flavors of summer with local seniors.
The Council on Aging, Senior Citizens Club of Leicester, and Senior Center staff welcomed Evangelidis and several other special guests for the Aug. 15 event.
Not only did members of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office offer a hot dog lunch to seniors, but they also brought complimentary bags filled with fresh vegetables that were prepared at an inmate-run organic farm.
“Despite the rain, it was a wonderful, delightful day. Kudos to [Sheriff’s Office community outreach coordinator] Donna Ostiguy and her crew from the Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Sheriff himself who makes these events possible and successful,” said Senior Center Director Rachelle Cloutier.
Also in attendance at the program was Adam Frank, of the State Office of Elder Affairs. Frank spoke with several guests about what it means to have an active senior center and how much they enjoy attending programs at the center. Frank also learned that many Leicester Senior Center attendees travel from surrounding communities due to the high-quality services and programs they receive in town.
“He was awed at the fact that they come from such distances to take advantage of what we have to offer,” Cloutier said.
For officials and guests alike, the event was a fun way to connect with several leaders throughout
“The Hot Dog Fest was such a fun time for our senior community to socialize and enjoy a delicious meal,” said Council on Aging Vice Chair Donna McCance. “The gift of the freshly grown vegetables from the Worcester County Jail and House of Corrections farming program was a special treat, too. This event was very well attended and an enjoyable way to end the summer months, as we head toward our fall celebrations.”
For more than a decade, inmates have been growing fresh produce at the Worcester County Jail’s organic farm. Harvests have benefited dozens of Worcester County food banks, senior centers, soup kitchens, veterans’ groups, and charitable organizations.
Each day, the 14-acre farm operation produces roughly 500 pounds of fresh produce. By the end of a typical growing season , harvests total approximately 40,000 pounds. Crops grown at the West Boylston facility include zucchinis, apples, eggplants, corn, tomatoes, and several others.
For Evangelidis and his team, it’s always rewarding to share their programs and outreach efforts with the community.
“It’s a joy to be out here and see you all. We love to get into the community and meet people from all of our towns,” Evangelidis told guests.
To learn more about the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and its numerous community outreach programs, visit www.WorcesterCountySheriff.com.