Cass Forkin was eating in a diner near her home in Doylestown, Pa., when she noticed three elderly women counting up dollar bills to pay for the $4.99 buffet. Forkin picked up their tab, getting a hug from one of the women, who said, "We didn't know there were people like you anymore."
That moment made such a deep impression that the following year, in 2003, Forkin left her six-figure consulting job to launch the Twilight Wish Foundation (www.twilightwish.org). Acting as a kind of Glinda the Good for the senior set, she has granted wishes to more than 770 elderly people of modest means, most of them referred by their friends or family. The desires can be humble (a banana cream pie) or fanciful (a blimp ride), nostalgic (arranging for a retired postman to make one last round) or practical (supplying retired nuns with a golf cart to help navigate their convent campus). "Our generation forgets seniors," says Forkin, 45, a divorced mother of a grown daughter, who regards the foundation as a tribute to her deceased parents. "We're saying, 'We know you gave. Thank you.'"
The gratitude flowed both ways on June 11, when Edward MacDonald, 83, a retired Navy submariner, took a group of underprivileged kids fishing near Margate, N.J.—a trip arranged and funded by Forkin's group. "A year from now," MacDonald says, "I'll remember this day."
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