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Good Shepherd Ministries treats Easter Seals adult daycare participants

The Hagerstown church provided an early Christmas meal Wednesday

December 12, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Santa checks out Jack McCune's beard at a lunch Wednesday held for Easter Seals Adult Day Services participants by members of Good Shepherd Ministries on Longmeadow Road.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Michelle McDonald, who has attended Easter Seals Adult Day Services of Hagerstown for three years, attended the program’s Christmas meal Wednesday with people she said were like her family.

“You’re with people that you love and care about here,” said McDonald, 46, of Hagerstown. “I’m very happy and grateful. Easter Seals has been very helpful to me in being with people and making friends.”

Easter Seals local adult daycare program, which serves adults with disabilities, provided a Christmas lunch for its participants along with The Good Shepherd Ministries on Wednesday at the church on Longmeadow Road.

Rosemary Parker, 45, of Hagerstown, who has participated at Easter Seals for nearly 10 years and attended Good Shepherd Ministries for nearly two months, said the meal would be “uplifting” for her and others.

“It was great for them to put on the meal for us,” she said. “Easter Seals and the church have helped me with my physical, emotional, and mental health.”

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This is the first Christmas lunch that the organization has put on for the participants, Easter Seals Activity Director Deb Lauricella said.

“Some of these folks do not have families, so this is a special time for them,” she said. “This Christmas meal is just fantastic.”

The Good Shepherd Ministries, which has been working with the program, provided food in addition to the venue for the lunch.

“They come to the center every three weeks and provide crafts, songs, and Bible stories for those who choose to participate,” Lauricella said. “It’s become a ministry of theirs. We’re just so thankful for them.”

The congregation also purchased one gift for every participant in the program.

Hagerstown resident Bud Kline, 75, showed up dressed as Santa Claus and presented the gifts to those attending.

Cathy Wiles, 52, of Smithsburg, who has been doing volunteer work for the church, helped put together the meal, which she described as a “wonderful idea.”

“It’s a way that we can honor them and make them feel special,” she said. “The congregation has been absolutely wonderful.”

Wiles said part of her volunteer work with the church has been going to the Easter Seals center to work with the participants.

“These are folks who for one reason or another have some sort of special needs,” she said. “Our goal with our ministry is to reach out to them, share some time with them, and love them, and they certainly reciprocate.”

There are  63 participants in the Easter Seals Adult Day Services of Hagerstown. About 50 were on hand for the meal, Lauricella said.

During the meal, the participants performed a skit of the Nativity story.

“It’s great to be with everybody from Easter Seals at this meal,” Eastern Seals participant and Hagerstown resident Jack Olenczak, 57, who lives in a group home, said. “It’s a very good meal. The people here are very great, and some of them are good friends.”

Darice Utterback, 59, an Eastern Seals participant of Hagerstown, also voiced her approval of the meal.

“The people here are very nice,” she said. “Easter Seals is a nice place. All of the clients and staff are nice.”

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