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SAN DIEGO — The Serving Seniors Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center was back open for Christmas after being shut down last year during the holidays due to the pandemic. 

On Christmas Day, seniors in need of a warm meal and friendship were able to get just that at the senior center. 

For 80-year-old Diana, eating a warm meal and meeting new friends at the senior center is the best part of the holidays.

“Anything you need they will help you with,” she said. “You need to be around people it’s very important; you get to learn a lot you get to know what life’s all about and it gives you happiness.” 

For volunteers like Mohammed Azazi, 79, serving others brings joy in return.

“I’m here volunteering for civic engagement and celebrate Christmas with my fellow seniors and my family and my friends – we’re having fun,” he said.

Diana adds the center keeps them busy, happy and in good company.

“When you get home, you feel so much better,” she added.  

In total, the center was shut down for 481 days during the pandemic. The senior center reopened this summer, allowing guests to enjoy meals in its dining room once again.