Seniors around the Valley share meals

FRESNO, Calif.

For many, the annual holiday meal is a chance to feel a part of a big community.

Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing and, of course, turkey. It was all the makings of a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

But at the Clovis Seniors Center, what isn't so conventional is the definition of a family.

"The food, the friends it's like a family and that's the way we look at it, as a family," Pearl Muller of Clovis said.

Muller is nearly 80. On Thursday she joined more than the 200 people she calls family at the annual community feast.

"This is my second home away from home, this senior center," she said.

Muller says it isn't the food that keeps her there, but the strong relationships she's made.

Like her, Dennis Sterling is also grateful for those relationships.

This year he's eating with friends at the Fresno Silvercrest Senior Residence.

"I am thankful that I have a wonderful place like this to live and I have a lot of good friends," he said.

Organizers say the elderly often count on the gathering as a way to connect and feel part of a larger community.

"There is a lot of great social activity. There is nothing quite like breaking bread together around the table," Captain Dwaine Breazeale of the Salvation Army said.

Fifth grader Chris Pohanna volunteers every year.

"It makes me feel good because I am actually the one that is serving people, it's a blessing to see all these people eating," he said.

What Chris has learned early on is that no matter who you're eating with on this holiday, being together is what matters.

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