Majority of the man’amko who religiously visit the Office on Aging yesterday were able to get into their Christmas spirit as the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan threw their annual Man’amko Christmas Luncheon at the Hibiscus Hall.
The 11th Annual Christmas luncheon followed a major disaster in the form of Super Typhoon Yutu. However, elders hailing from all over Saipan enjoyed themselves in the annual gathering sponsored by the hotel.
About 60 were able to participate in the annual luncheon, Fiesta Resort general manager Wendi Herring told Saipan Tribune, compared to previous year’s over 100 participants.
“…This year it is not quite well attended as previous years but right now [the Aging Office] is used as a shelter, so it is difficult to get the word out to everyone, but we are still really pleased with the turnout,” she said.
Herring noted that the hotel launched the luncheon annually as a way of expressing gratitude toward the elders, who she said paved the way for how residents on Saipan are perceived by visitors.
“They have paved the way with their kindness, their grace, and their resiliency. We have been together through this disaster, but we get together and we smile and we appreciate one another,” she said.
Office on Aging executive director Walter Manglona told Saipan Tribune that the luncheon was an opportunity for the elders to reunite after the destruction of Yutu.
“…It came at a very timely fashion due to the fact that we are all in recovery mode. We have been through a lot and our seniors have been segregate from each other. They really miss their friends and they really miss each other, and just having them bond today and seeing the smiles on their faces means a lot,” he said.
Manglona expressed his gratitude toward Fiesta Resort.
Along with the luncheon, Fiesta Resort also gave away brunch buffet coupons and some other freebies along with the luncheon.
Like Herring, Manglona believes that Yutu affected the overall turnout of the luncheon. He noted that the Aging Office being utilized as a shelter limited the reach of news of the luncheon, while others still remain in other shelters and are still recovering from the typhoon.
“I don’t see a lot of our seniors today, but I am hoping that once we [reopen the Aging Center] we come up with a similar event,” Manglona said.