By Molly Daly


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging hosted its annual Thanksgiving dinner for isolated, low-income seniors Sunday at Septa’s Jefferson Station.

The invitation-only dinner is a joint effort by the PCA, SEPTA and the merchants of the Reading Terminal Market.

“There are probably 300 people here today,” organizer Tootsie Iovine D’Ambrosio tells KYW Newsradio, “and they’re gonna have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, string beans, pumpkin pie, apple pie, lemon bars…”

The invitations were distributed through the city’s senior centers.

Marie McDevitt says in addition to offering a tasty meal, the dinner may help lonely seniors forge new connections:

“There are some here that don’t have families, and this is their family, their senior center. It’s possible that maybe one will be invited to someone else’s house, and enjoy a meal with a family, and little kids and more kids.”

The holidays can be tough, especially for those who’ve lost loved ones. Doubly so when those losses come at this time of year, when Maxine Votee Robinson lost both parents and her husband.

“This is the first November, since I retired in ’94 from the library, that I’ve come out and mingled among other people for Thanksgiving,” she says. “So this is really good.”

She travels the circuit, visiting senior centers around the city:

“Because you’re 70 or older — I’m 75 — but it’s no reason to stay in. When you stay in, you focus on your pain. But when you get out and you mingle with other people, and you go to the senior centers, you’re in touch with a lot of different things that are going on in the city.”