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OCO Launches March for Meals Campaign

Fulton, NY – Oswego County Opportunities’ Senior Nutrition Services is asking Oswego County residents to be a part of their annual March for Meals campaign by being a part of the many events that they will be hosting during the month of March.

Mayors, local officials and other leaders from communities throughout Oswego County will demonstrate their support for Oswego County Opportunities Senior Nutrition Services annual March for Meals Campaign when they participate in Mayors for Meals Day as they help deliver meals to homebound seniors in Oswego County on March 20. Pictured are are OCO senior services distribution supervisor Allen Wert and Meals on Wheels driver, Christine Woodworth.
Mayors, local officials and other leaders from communities throughout Oswego County will demonstrate their support for Oswego County Opportunities Senior Nutrition Services annual March for Meals Campaign when they participate in Mayors for Meals Day as they help deliver meals to homebound seniors in Oswego County on March 20. Pictured are are OCO senior services distribution supervisor Allen Wert and Meals on Wheels driver, Christine Woodworth.

OCO’s annual March for Meals campaign helps to raise the awareness of senior hunger in Oswego County and serves as a fundraiser to help support the agency’s Home Delivered Meal Service.

To celebrate their March for Meals Campaign, OCO Senior Nutrition Services has planned the following community events:

·         Sunday, March 3, Chicken & Biscuit Dinner from 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. at the Sandy Creek Methodist Church, 2031 Harwood Drive, Sandy Creek.  Proceeds will be donated to OCO’s Senior Nutrition Services to support the Meals on Wheels program.

·         Wednesday, March 20, Mayors For Meals Day. To raise awareness and to encourage action at the local level, Oswego County Dignitaries will participate in the campaign by delivering meals to homebound seniors or by serving meals at one of OCO’s eight senior Dining and Activity Centers.

·         Thursday, March 21, Pinewood Derby, at the Sandy Creek Dining and Center from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Judy Parker, Center Manager, has invited special guests and local dignitaries to build and race pinewood derby “meal delivery vans” to see which guest can deliver the meals the fastest on the derby track. Lunch will be served at the center after the race. Reservations are requested.  For more information and to make reservations contact Judy Parker at 315-298-5020 or via e-mail at [email protected]

·         Saturday, March 30, Miles for Meals Walk-a-thon, at the A.A. Cole Elementary School from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Constantia Dining and Activity Center Manager, Deirdre McCarthy, asks community members to help by making a pledge to walk, or by sponsoring a walker. “We are hoping that each walker can raise $10, which is about the cost of one days home delivered meal service, but any amount will be greatly appreciated,” said McCarthy. For more information contact Deidre McCarthy at 315-623-9803, or via email at [email protected]

·         Meals on Wheels Collection Vans.  Look for donation boxes shaped as delivery vans at the senior centers and in local places of business for the month of March. All donations will be used to support Meals on Wheels participants and to provide special events at OCO’s Senior Dining and Activity Centers.

“In this tough economy, the food and human contact we provide to seniors in this community is needed more than ever,” said Dolbear. “We need community members to come out and support our March For Meals events.  There support will help us continue feeding senior citizens in our community.  Our clients are counting on us. We can’t let them down.”

The Meals On Wheels Association of America created the March For Meals campaign in 2002 to raise awareness about senior hunger. We Are Meals On Wheels, so no senior goes hungry, is the continuing slogan for the campaign.

Senior citizens across the country go hungry everyday. 1 in 7 seniors is threatened by hunger and the older population is increasing at a staggering high rate with an increase of more than 20 million senior citizens from this decade alone.  The goal of Nutrition Services and other Meals on Wheels programs is to end senior hunger by 2020 and you can help.

The OCO’s Meals on Wheels program provided 242,132 meals to homebound seniors and congregate center participants last year. There are no un-served areas in the county. Typically, the Meals on Wheels driver is the only person that the homebound participants see for days at a time.

“Our participants have said that it makes them feel better to have someone check on them and they enjoy the conversations as much as the meals,” said distribution supervisor Allen Wert.

While the program does have nine paid employee routes, according to support services manager Christine Parks, it is the volunteers that are the driving force behind the Meals on Wheels program.

“We have 19 volunteer routes for our home delivered meals.  Our program relies heavily on the assistance we receive from our volunteers.  We couldn’t do it without them,” said Parks. “If anyone is interested in delivering meals or helping out at one of the senior Dining and Activity Centers please call us at 598-4712, we would love to hear from you.”

In addition to the Meals on Wheels program OCO Senior Nutrition Services has eight senior Dining and Activity Centers located in Constantia, Fulton, Hannibal, Mexico, Oswego, Parish, Phoenix and Sandy Creek. The centers offer fun activities such as bingo, arts and crafts and exercise as well as friendly conversations for senior citizens. Please call 598-4712 for dates and times of operation.

The Meals On Wheels Association of America is the only national association and network dedicated solely to ending senior hunger in America.

MOWAA is the oldest and largest organization composed of and representing local, community-based Senior Nutrition Programs in all 50 states as well as the U.S. territories.

MOWAA’s vision is to end senior hunger by 2020.

To obtain more information about MOWAA or to locate a local Meals On Wheels program, visit the MOWAA website at www.mowaa.org

Dolbear added that updates on OCO’s March for Meals campaign as well as photos from the events and activities at OCO’s Senior Dining and Activity Centers would be on their Facebook page, OCO Senior Centers.

For more information on the March for Meals campaign and to learn how you can help put an end senior hunger, contact Bridget Dolbear at OCO Senior Nutrition Services, 315-598-4712, ext. 1813 or via e-mail at [email protected]

A private, non-profit agency, OCO’s many programs touch the lives of more than 28,000 Oswego County residents each. One of Oswego County’s largest employers, OCO employs more than 650 people and boasts a volunteer force of 1,000.

OCO continues to build partnerships and is on a roll as it strives to improve the quality of life in Oswego County by helping people, supporting communities and changing lives.

For more information, visit OCO’s website at www.oco.org