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By Anne O’Connor

Correspondent

TOWNSEND — Seniors gathered at round tables in the Meeting Hall Thursday to socialize, dine, sing and generally have fun. The aroma of home-prepared food and sounds of laughter floated through the room.

At the Senior Luncheon and Sing-a-Long, the Friends of the Townsend Seniors do all the work, from buying, preparing and serving food to cleaning everything up. It cost nothing to attend the Jan. 26 luncheon at the senior center.

This year is the third year the friends have hosted the lunch, said Donna Miller, president of the Friends.

It is a group effort. Vice President Bill Martin made the first course: French onion soup topped with shavings of cheese.

Diane Steele, a friend of Miller, acted as server, bringing bowls to each diner.

A variety of sandwiches, egg salad, ham salad and chicken salad were made by Miller and volunteers Avis Roy and Jean Tourigney.

And, if anyone had a sweet tooth, they surely went home happy. There was plenty to choose from. Roy made brownies and cookies. She also set aside some of the bakery items donated to the senior center by Hannaford Supermarket.

The Friends formed in 2000, Roy said. The next year they founded William E. May Endowment to raise money.

Roy, a board member of the Friends, received the endowment award in 2011. Each year a person is honored at a dinner for the volunteer acts done for residents.

While the seniors received a free lunch, they could help provide their own entertainment. The Lamoureux family, “Country” Dave, Kathy and their son Anthony, led a sing-along featuring country songs.

The meal was open to non-Townsend residents. A contingent from Ashby attended, taking up nearly two tables.

“We got invited. I thought it was very nice,” said Lillian Whitney, a former member of Ashby’s Finance Committee.

State Rep. Sheila Harrington spoke to the gathering, sharing news about two important events for seniors.

The funding available for fuel assistance this winter should increase, she said. The federal government cut funding for fuel assistance 50 percent this year, she said. But revenue in Massachusetts was significantly higher than projected and the House has passed legislation to cover the loss of the federal money.

“No doubt it will be fully ratified by the Senate,” she said.

The state should also be able to restore elderly day-care services to the levels of last year, Harrington said.

She introduced Jon Golnik, Republican candidate for Congress in the new 3rd District, running against incumbent Niki Tsongas

Golnik, a member of the Council on Aging in Carlisle, praised Townsend’s senior center. “This is something we can always aspire to in our town of 5,000 people,” he said.

The Friends sponsor activities for seniors throughout the year. A trip to The Boston Flower and Garden Show in Boston is scheduled for Thursday, March 15, at a cost of $16 per person.

For details and to register, contact Roy at 978-597-6829 or stop in at the senior center on Dudley Road.