In photos: Santa's helpers hand out holiday meals to seniors in Shelton

SHELTON — Some city seniors received a tasty treat this Christmas.

Staff from the Shelton Senior Center, as well as volunteers from Echo Hose Hook, Ladder and Ambulance, provided bagged holiday meals to seniors — some of whom they hadn’t seen for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic — on Christmas Eve.

Center Director Doreen Laucella, along with Assistant Director Shauna Dumas and the department staff, prepared and served 100 Christmas dinners and Christmas breakfasts curbside on Dec. 24. The senior center provided the dinners, while Echo Hose Ambulance provided the breakfasts.

“It was a huge success and heartwarming to spend the holiday doing this for them,” Dumas said.

Dumas said the reactions of the seniors brought tears to my eyes.

“They mean the world to me,” Dumas said, “and there were so many I haven’t seen since before COVID. I was blowing air kisses to them because I couldn’t give them the love and hugs they are used to getting from me. I miss them terribly.”

The center’s exterior was decorated, and those picking up curbside were entertained with Christmas music. Santa — Joe Laucella, known out of costume as the Echo Hose Ambulance director of operations — and his “elves” — played by Dumas’ children Joey and Gracie, and staff member Vivian Kudej’s son Tyler — also stopped by to greet visitors.

Laucella credited her staff for their efforts in putting the event together as well as Echo Hose Ambulance for donating the money to purchase the continental breakfasts for the seniors. She also thanked the senior center’s arts and crafts club for creating goodie bags that were also distributed to the seniors.

“It was so heartwarming to see their faces,” Laucella said about the seniors arriving that day. “Some of them have no where to go, no one to be with. It was just a joyous occasion.”