The Naples Senior Center’s popular Lunch and More event is back for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic put it on hold. It allows seniors to socialize, eat and enjoy time with others.

The event aims to give seniors a place to go with others. With a new, much larger location in North Naples, just off Immokalee Road, Baker Senior Center Naples can offer the experience to even more people.

“We were all at table 9. In fact, we belonged when it first opened,” Alice French said.

It’s not Table 9, but French is thrilled to be back with her friends, now at Table 10, for the first time since COVID-19 forced a halt to dining.

“We’re glad to see all the old ones reconnecting because we lost two years to the virus, so we’re all glad to see each other again. Even though it’s not Table 9, there are still quite a few of us from Table 9.”

Olga Troyana is a new member of the Table 9, now Table 10, team. “Very happy to have company and talk with everyone. When I leave I feel lonely, yes, very lonely.’

That’s why Baker Senior Center CEO Dr. Jacqueline Pfeffer said it’s important to bring the event back. “We all know that isolation and loneliness can cause depression and anxiety. It can also have a significant physical impact on a person. The Naples Senior Center was founded to combat isolation and loneliness. That’s what this lunch is about.’

“Well, it’s a fellowship. You know most of us live separately,” said French.

“It’s really an opportunity for them to feel like they belong in a community and that they’re part of something much bigger than they are,” Pfeffer said.

Seniors pay just $60 a year to be a part of the Naples Senior Center, and all events, such as Lunch and More, are free.

Therefore, the center relies on the support of society in many ways. In fact, they raised a record $1 million at their gala fundraiser on Saturday, using the dinner as a call to action.

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