OCO Launches March for Meals Campaign

FULTON, NY – The staff of Oswego County Opportunities’ Nutrition Services is asking Oswego County residents to join them in 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 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 their 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 their March for Meals campaign to raise awareness of senior hunger in Oswego County and raise funds for the program.

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 meal service programs.

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

March 16, all day fundraiser at Canale’s Restaurant, 156 W. Utica St. in Oswego and its Liverpool location at 7421 Oswego Road.

Stop in for lunch or dinner, present an OCO March for Meals coupon and 20% of your bill will be donated to OCO’s Nutrition Services to support the Meals on Wheels program.

Coupons are available at OCO’s main office 231 Oneida St. in Fulton, the OCO Oswego office in the Midtown Plaza, and at the OCO Community Service Center 5871 Scenic Ave., Mexico, and all six Dining and Activity Centers.

For other locations contact OCO Nutrition Services at (315) 598-4712.

March 16 through March 20, Community Champions Week.

To raise awareness and to encourage action at the local level, OCO invites elected officials, business leaders, and community members to participate.

Everyone is invited to show their support by delivering meals to homebound Meals On Wheels participants or helping to serve meals at one of OCO’s six Dining and Activity Centers.

Meals on Wheels Collection Vans.

Look for donation boxes shaped as delivery vans at senior centers and in local places of business throughout the month of March.

All donations will be used to support OCO Nutrition Services’ meals programs.

Like them on Facebook.

Visit the OCO Senior Centers page on Facebook to find the latest information on OCO’s Meals on Wheels program and its Dining and Activity Centers.

Click on the like button and help spread the word about OCO’s Nutrition Services.

“The food and human contact we provide to seniors in this community is needed more than ever,” said Bridget Dolbear. “A recent survey of our Meals On Wheels participants here in Oswego County revealed some eye opening statistics:”

– 99% of participants said that the Meals On Wheels program has allowed them to continue living independently in their own home.

– 53% stated that their Meals on Wheels driver is the only visitor they have.

– 36% do not have the means to purchase the food they need to survive.

According to the Meals On Wheels Association of America, the number of seniors facing the threat of isolation and hunger is devastatingly high.

Nearly one is six seniors may not know when they will have their next meal or where it will come from.

Whether it is lack of mobility that keeps from driving to the grocery store or standing over a stove to prepare a meal or if they lack the funds to keep up with the increasing cost of food, the issue has become a national epidemic.

OCO Nutrition Services delivers a nutritious meal, a safety check and a smile that serves as a lifeline to homebound and socially isolated seniors.

“For many the Meals on Wheels drivers are 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 Nutrition Services Director Amy Roland. “This combination of services goes well beyond fighting the battle against hunger; it provides the support and peace of mind that enable them to remain safely and securely in their own homes as they continue to age.”

“We need community members to come out and support our March For Meals events so that we may continue to be a lifeline to the seniors we serve both with our Meals On Wheels program and our Dining and Activity Centers.  Our clients are counting on us.  We can’t let them down, added Dolbear.”

The OCO’s Meals on Wheels program delivers around 1,100 meals each day to homebound seniors.

There are no un-served areas in the county.

While the program does have eight paid employee routes, according to Roland it is the volunteers that are the driving force behind the Meals on Wheels program.

“We have 16 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 Roland. “If anyone is interested in delivering meals or helping out at one of our Dining and Activity Centers please call us at (315) 598-4712, we would love to hear from you.”

In addition to the Meals on Wheels program OCO Nutrition Services has six senior Dining and Activity Centers located in Constantia, Fulton, Hannibal, Mexico, Parish, and Phoenix.

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

OCO Nutrition Services programs are partially supported through grants from its partners: Oswego County Office for the Aging, New York State Office for the Aging and The United Way of Greater Oswego, Inc.

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!” she 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 30,000 Oswego County residents each year.

One of Oswego County’s largest employers, OCO employs more than 650 people and boasts a volunteer force of 1,200.

OCO strives to improve the quality of life in Oswego County by helping people, supporting communities and changing lives.

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