Bridging the generation gap through food and fellowship

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November 21, 2011 - 6:00pm

A dinner bell rings.

Elder Frank Likely leads a blessing a feast at the Adams Park Community Center in North Omaha. About 30 senior citizens gathered for an early Thanksgiving meal, which included green beans, potatoes, rolls and ham.

Seventeen-year old Alicia Johnson served desserts.

"Would you like some pie?" she asked a guest.

Photo by Angel Martin, KVNO News

Students from Omaha Blackburn Alternative High School prepared a Thanksgiving meal for seniors recently.

Photo by Angel Martin, KVNO News

Seniors gathered at Adams Center for a Thanksgiving meal.

Johnson and a handful of other students from Omaha Blackburn Alternative High School helped prepare the meal.

"We've been cooking for three days preparing this beautiful meal for them," she said.

Throughout the school year, the students prepare meals each week for the seniors at Adams Center. Kerry Turner, president of the senior group, said it's a great program for the teens and his fellow senior citizens.

"They show the love and enjoy fellowshipping with the senior citizens," he said. "A lot of times, when we get old, a lot of the young people seem like they just pass the old people by; but the young people seem like they love coming up, and we love having them up here (at the center)."

"The meals are wonderful," he added, "and I always tell them (that)."

Thelma Whitfield is another senior at the center. She said she always compliments the kids on their skills and uniforms. She added that good cooking is all about the seasoning, and after that meal, some of the seniors will need to take advantage of the gym at the center.

"Of course you're going to need to walk, because you'll (have eaten) too much," she said with a laugh.

There are a number of programs throughout Omaha and the state aimed at making sure people get a Thanksgiving meal this year. For those at Adams Center, some can't get to their families, and some just don't have family to get to. This project not only helps the seniors get a meal, but also teaches teens the importance of an essential life skill - cooking.

"So many (teenagers) don't know how to cook because their parents didn't teach them how to cook," Whitfield said. "All my children know how to cook."

The program also gives students like Johnson the opportunity to connect with an older generation.

"When I first got here, my challenge was to sit by people that I didn't know," she said. "I was kind of afraid because I'm not a talkative person. But then it started getting easier and I stated talking to them, and I was watching them play dominoes and I've got used to them. And they are very sweet."




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