Happy Hearts luncheon gives local seniors a free place to party

Since 2009, several volunteers, lead by Daphne Milen, organize a free luncheon for seniors every month. (Image: WTVC)

There's a big party happening in Polk County every month and it's a big hit with local seniors.

It celebrates major milestones, including birthdays, anniversaries and new family additions.

In this week's Pay It Forward, Jessica Harthorn surprises the woman who organizes "Happy Hearts."

In 2009, Daphne Milen noticed a need in the Benton community, many local seniors were left at home with nowhere fun to go.

She says she wanted to give them a joyful reason to venture out and socialize with others.

So with the help of several volunteers she created a free party, called Happy Hearts.

The kitchen at First Baptist Church in Benton smells delicious, juicy steak, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes.

A meal fit for royalty, or for all these folks waiting to share a hot meal together.

"I'm excited over seeing people and you know talking with them," said Edythe Hathcock who attends Happy Hearts.

Edythe is one of dozens of seniors who look forward to Happy Hearts, a free luncheon for seniors held the third Wednesday of every month.

There's singing, devotions, a time to showcase personal achievements and of course dessert!

"Its like going to a class reunion, a family reunion," said Edythe.

And Daphne Milen, the woman who organizes it all was certainly caught by surprise as Edythe and her daughter Ronna interrupted her announcement on stage.

"Daphne we have a big surprise for you. On behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, we want to present you $500 for a cause that's well deserved," surprised Edythe.

Daphne handed over the microphone and stepped off the stage, with trembling hands accepted the $500.

"Thank you. Thank you," said Daphne.

"We have love in this building and it's amazing, and I'm so thankful," said Daphne.

Daphne called her army of volunteers up front for a group picture and a big squeeze.

She tells us she wants every senior to know they're special and there's a seat for them at the next Happy Hearts.

Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for volunteering? Nominate them here.

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