ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It was a festive afternoon over at the Highland Senior Center. Staff and volunteers at the facility near Central and San Mateo served Christmas lunch to a sold-out crowd.

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The group was also treated to gifts and live music. Organizers say it’s an important way for local seniors who may not have family in town to connect during the holidays.

They say last Christmas was especially tough when events like this were canceled because of COVID. “It’s really heartwarming to be able to have a place for folks to come and they are so grateful and appreciative and they have been in isolation. They have not connected with folks and this is our opportunity to be able to do that for them,” said Director of the Department for Senior Affairs, Anna Sanchez.

The senior affairs department says they are always in need of volunteers to help out with events like this and other services.