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’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 its March for Meals Campaign, OCO Nutrition Services has planned the following community events:
· March 20 through March 24, 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. The Community Champions have been 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 Meals on Wheels and provide special events at OCO’s Dining and Activity Centers.
· Sip & Paint Night March 22. OCO will host and fundraiser at Bonnie’s Sip & Paint, 113 Schuyler St., in Fulton from 6 – 9 p.m. Light snacks and refreshment will be served. Participants may bring their own wine or beer.
· Photo Contest. Throughout the month of March OCO will hold a photo contest. Community members are welcome to enter interesting photos that capture the beauty, or amazement of person, place or object. Entries will be posted on the OCO Nutrition Services Facebook page and its OCO website page. There is a $50 prize for first place, $30 for second and $20 for third. Registration forms are available by calling Nutrition Services at 315-598-4712, online at www.oco.org, or via email at [email protected]
· Like them on Facebook. Visit the OCO Senior Dining 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 Annual March for Meals campaign is led by Meals on Wheels America and gives the businesses, organizations, governments and volunteers who contribute so generously in their communities an opportunity to support homebound seniors in a variety of ways to make America stronger and healthier.
“March is a time for us all to rally around Meals on Wheels,” said Ellie Hollander, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “Our ability to meet the needs of vulnerable seniors lies in the willingness and generosity of businesses, government and concerned individuals of all ages to contribute in their own way. It not only makes economic sense to enable seniors to stay healthy and safe at home, but it improves the health and vibrancy of our communities and our nation at large.”
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.
“The food and human contact we provide to seniors in this community is needed more than ever,” said Nutrition Services Program Coordinator Bridget Dolbear.
A recent survey on our Meals On Wheels participants 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.
OCO Nutrition Services does more than just deliver a nutritious meal; it’s a safety check and a welcome visit.
“For many, the Meals on Wheels drivers are the only person that the homebound participants see for days at a time. They serve as a lifeline to homebound and socially isolated seniors. 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 OCO 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 through our Meals On Wheels program and at 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 approximately 1,000 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 18 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 Cleveland, Fulton, Hannibal, Mexico, Parish, and Phoenix. The centers 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 100 additional 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]
OCO Nutrition Services programs are partially supported through grants from OCO partners: Oswego County Office for the Aging; New York State Office for the Aging; and the United Way of Greater Oswego, Inc.
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 www.oco.org.