700 residents do some one-stop shopping at Ninth Annual Senior Fair
AMY ZUBEK/TIMES NEWS Residents of the Panther Valley area pose with Speaker of the House Keith McCall, third from right, during McCall's Ninth Annual Senior Fair, held in Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall on Thursday. From left, Verna Lazorchick, Anna Markey, Amy Kmetz, Margaret Henry, Mary Stalowski, McCall, Pat Rabayda and Dan Rabayda.
Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall was transformed into a one-stop-shopping information center for hundreds of area senior citizens on Thursday.
More than 700 older Carbon County residents visited the hall for Speaker of the House Keith McCall's Ninth Annual Senior Fair, in the hopes of learning what help is available to them. Many even lined up outside the building before the fair was scheduled to open, said Bob Caton, press secretary to McCall.
After talking with many of the people in attendance McCall commented that he was thrilled by the turnout.
"When I saw the snow, I thought no one would show up, but it has been an overwhelming turnout," he said.
McCall also pointed out the overflowing barrels of nonperishable food donations that will be sent to the Shepherd House Food Bank in Jim Thorpe. Shepherd House currently serves nearly 70 families in need.
"We are thankful for the graciousness of the people in Carbon County," he said. "It astounded me how much we collected. It will go to great use."
Diann Gushue of Shepherd House said the donations came at the perfect time.
"We ran out of food at the food bank recently so there was a little concern," she said. "This will fill the shelves now."
During the three-hour event, more than 70 vendors from around the community set up to provide helpful information.
Vendors included county agencies, government organizations, insurance companies, health care providers, financial services and more. There were also stations for free blood glucose testing and blood pressure checkups. A free lunch by Memorial Hall was also provided.
Joel Christman of Primerica Financial Services said the fair is a great idea.
"I'm pleased that so many people came out in this rotten weather," he said.
Area seniors who attended echoed Christman's thoughts.
Francis Hartnett of Jim Thorpe said, "It's a very nice event. It's instructional and very helpful."
Marg Banta, also of Jim Thorpe, agreed.
McCall's Annual Senior Fair has grown significantly over the years in size and popularity, having first been held in the Carbon Plaza Mall in Lehighton until its move to Jim Thorpe.