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Home Suburban Suburban News Cheesequake club adds sunshine to its residents

Cheesequake club adds sunshine to its residents

Cheesequake club adds sunshine to its residents
Ann Auricchione (r) and Mary Ditri (l) at the Cheesequake Village Retirement community's over 90s Luncheon. The Sunshine Club at the Cheesequake Retirement community held a luncheon for residents over 90 on May 25.

BY KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer

OLD BRIDGE — The Sunshine Club at the Cheesequake Village Retirement community is lending a hand to those who have come on hard times.

“If a resident becomes sick and goes to the hospital or a nursing home, the Sunshine Club will get together and send out feel good gifts,” said Terri Varan, president of the Cheesequake Village Association. “The gifts are teddy bears. It is just some kind of keepsake as a nice gesture and the residents appreciate it.”

Varan said the Sunshine Club is made up of 12 volunteers in the vast community that sits on 53 acres with 713 units near Cheesequake State Park in Old Bridge.

The Sunshine Club, which has been around for more than 25 years, decided to hold its first luncheon for residents older than 90 years old on May 25. Varan said she hopes the luncheon becomes an annual occasion.

“We have about 30 or so in the community,” she said.

Varan said their oldest resident is Ginette Babo, who has lived in the community for more than 50 years.

“She was a World War II bride,” she said.

Peggy Keefer said she came to the Cheesequake Village as a widow. At the end of July, she will have resided in the community for 30 years.

“It’s a safe place for widows,” she said. “People here are very friendly. … What I enjoy the most is the pool.”

Philip and Gloria Tanala have lived in the community since 1985. Philip, who had previously served as the Cheesequake Village Association’s president for many years, said next month he and his wife will celebrate 71 years of marriage.

“We love it here. It is peaceful,” Gloria Tanala said.

Philip Tanala said they do not have to leave the community for entertainment.

“We have good neighbors and we all help each other,” he said.

Ann Auricchione said she has lived in the community for more than 40 years.

“I don’t drive so it’s very convenient,” she said. “There’s a bus if I want to go shopping or go to the [association] meetings once a month.”

Mary Ditri, who has lived in the community for 13 years, agreed.

“Everything is convenient,” she said.