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As Thanksgiving approaches, we are reminded to count our blessings and remember all that we have to be thankful for. But for many seniors, Thanksgiving and the following holiday season can be a difficult time.

Seniors, like Gloria, often feel lonely and are reminded of people they may have lost in the past. The lack of family gatherings, an inability to shop or prepare food, or the feeling that they cannot fully participate in holiday functions can lead to depression and isolation.

Last year, over 600 seniors received their Thanksgiving meal from Spectrum Community Services.

In honor of Veteran's Day, the Spectrum staff and board want to honor Senior Meals client Carl Dudley, and ALL the brave men and women who have served our country.  Whether in the past, the present or the future, during times of war and peace, all of us at Spectrum Community Services salute and thank all of the veterans who have served! 

Carl Dudley turned down a scholarship to Morehouse College awarded to him by Martin Luther King, Jr. and others in 1961. He had aspirations of becoming a famous jazz saxophonist and singer, following in the footsteps of his musical family members, and against his mother’s wishes. Instead Carl found himself outside a recruitment office one afternoon in 1962. Most of the doors were locked as the officers took their lunch break. When Carl returned an hour later, two branches of the armed services were open and with the flip of a coin, Carl enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.

Spectrum Wins Excellence in Service Award On October 20th, Spectrum Community Services was presented with the Excellence in Service Award bestowed by the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce. The annual Community Service Awards is a fun-filled evening as the Chamber recognizes those deserving individuals, groups and businesses who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in business, volunteer activities and achievement within the Pleasanton community. The Community Service Awards began in 1963 to recognize good people doing great things in the community and since then hundreds of recipients have been honored. Click the video below to watch Spectrum Executive Director Lara Calvert's remarks about receiving this award.

At 76 years young, Spectrum client and Oakland resident Ollie Jackson is a retired beautician who’s favorite thing in life is babies and older people. “I’m a people person, I love people!” an enthusiastic Ollie shared with us. In addition to her time as a beautician, Ollie spent 25 years as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) prior to her retirement.

In February, Ollie had back surgery and when she returned home, she was in need of a new heater. “I came out of surgery, and the next day, Spectrum put in a new Central Heating system in my home! I couldn’t believe this was happening - I was so grateful!” Many clients in Alameda county are without safe, reliable appliances in their homes. Spectrum has helped Ollie for over 20 years through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and more recently, our weatherization program. “They keep me safe, they keep me warm! This year, my bill has been especially high and I have been fortunate to receive this help.”

Serves 4 | Cook Time: 30 Min | Prep Time: 15 Min
Cozy vegan Moroccan stew simmered with spices, tender butternut squash and protein-packed chickpeas & lentils. This incredible, healthy Moroccan stew recipe makes a wonderful plant based dinner. Serve with naan for the perfect meal!
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon