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OCO Launches March for Meals Campaign

FULTON, NY – Oswego County Opportunities’ 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.

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.

OCO Meals on Wheels driver Shannon Ladd loads the van with meals before she leaves to deliver meals to homebound seniors in Oswego County.  OCO recently kicked off its March for Meals campaign to raise awareness of senior hunger in Oswego County and raise funds for the program.
OCO Meals on Wheels driver Shannon Ladd loads the van with meals before she leaves to deliver meals to homebound seniors in Oswego County. OCO recently kicked off its March for Meals campaign to raise awareness of senior hunger in Oswego County and raise funds for the program.

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

· March 19, fundraiser from 4 – 9 p.m. at the Bake Shop Eatery, 3281 Main St, Mexico. 15% of all proceeds will be donated to OCO’s Nutrition Services to support the Meals on Wheels program.

· March 19, 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.

· Date to be announced, Pinewood Derby, at the Sandy Creek Dining and Activity Center from 11 a.m. – noon. 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 Parker at 315-298-5020 or via e-mail at [email protected]

· Meals on Wheels Collection Vans. Look for donation boxes shaped as delivery vans at 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 Bridget Dolbear. “We need community members to come out and support our March For Meals events. Their 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 every day.

One in seven 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 delivers around 1,000 meals each day to homebound seniors.

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 program does have nine paid employee routes, according to Wert 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 Wert. “If anyone is interested in delivering meals or helping out at one of our 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 Nutrition Services has eight senior Dining and Activity Centers located in Constantia, Fulton, Hannibal, Mexico, Oswego, Parish, Phoenix and Sandy Creek.

The centers feed approximately 100 senior citizens daily and offer fun activities and friendly conversations.

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

“I encourage community members to like us on Facebook. Our goal is to have 300 likes by the end of March!” seh said.

For more information on the March for Meals campaign and to learn how you can help put an end to senior hunger, contact 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 year.

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 www.oco.org