For 31 years, the Rotary Club of Big Bear Lake has hosted its annual Senior Holiday Luncheon. This year’s luncheon, held at the Salvation Army Pine Summit Dining Hall in Big Bear Lake, was well attended despite the rain, with around 300 senior citizens age 55 and older filling the hall with warmth and joviality as they filled their stomachs with the delicious food provided by Pine Summit. 

The dining hall was bursting with cheery Christmas décor, smiling faces and festive music courtesy of Mark Dolan.

The luncheon kicked off with Christmas carols sung by the choirs from North Shore Elementary School. The students, 65 children ranging from first to fifth grade, assembled in front of the stage and delivered a beautiful performance. 

In addition to a hearty holiday meal with all the fixings, the hall teemed with prizes donated by Rotarians and Big Bear businesses for the lucky winners of the drawings. Winners were announced by master of ceremonies, John Wells. Prizes included tasty treats including cookies and candy, as well as gift cards from Stater Bros. and local restaurants. 

It is a tradition for the Rotary Club to recognize the oldest attendees. This year the honor went to Arlene Elder, 95, and Richard Messenger, 92.

Each year, Big Bear businesses and community members have the opportunity to sponsor a table for the luncheon to offset some of the expenses for the event. More than 30 donors helped make a difference this year, business owners and citizens alike. Rotarian Helen Walsh says that when there aren’t enough sponsors for the tables, the Rotary Club makes up the difference with various fundraisers throughout the year.

Next up for the Rotary Club is its Santa Visit Project, followed by the Sweetheart Ball in February.

The Rotary Club likes to cover a lot of ground with the proceeds from its fundraisers, helping out wherever there is a need. Funds raised from the annual Sweetheart Ball two years ago went to remodel all of the patient rooms at Bear Valley Community Hospital. The 2020 theme of the ball is “Our Hearts are with Our Vets,” with money raised going to benefit Big Bear veterans and veteran organizations. The Rotary Club works diligently year round to help the community.

The annual Senior Holiday Luncheon is free to seniors. Walsh says the Rotary Club appreciates “all of the support the community has given over 31 years. It’s special.” 

Become a part of the Big Bear holiday tradition next year by participating as a sponsor, gift donor or volunteer.

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