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OCO Nutrition Services Doing its Part to Fight Hunger

FULTON, NY – When it comes to fighting hunger in Oswego County, perhaps no one plays a more important role than Oswego County Opportunities.

Virtually all of OCO’s human services programs have elements that address hunger.

From homebound seniors to homeless teens and single mothers, to low-income families and hungry youth, OCO does its best to provide nutritious meals to those in need.

Staff and volunteers for OCO Nutrition Services prepare meals at OCO’s kitchen facility in Mexico. Nutrition Services prepares more than 1,000 meals daily for distribution to OCO’s Activity and Dining Centers, and Meals on Wheels program. Last year OCO Nutrition Services served 239,769 meals to Oswego County residents 60 and older; provided 16,360 meals to youth up to 18 years of age. From left are: Hilarie Himes, Torrie McCray, Cody Cowen, Joyce Burnard and Lesley Kline.
Staff and volunteers for OCO Nutrition Services prepare meals at OCO’s kitchen facility in Mexico. Nutrition Services prepares more than 1,000 meals daily for distribution to OCO’s Activity and Dining Centers, and Meals on Wheels program. Last year OCO Nutrition Services served 239,769 meals to Oswego County residents 60 and older; provided 16,360 meals to youth up to 18 years of age. From left are: Hilarie Himes, Torrie McCray, Cody Cowen, Joyce Burnard and Lesley Kline.

With the need for food subsidy at almost record levels in Oswego County, and state and federal funding continuing to dwindle, OCO’s fundraising efforts are on a roll.

To help continue to feed those in need OCO will host its “Retro Bowl” fundraiser on April 5 at Lakeview Lanes.

Proceeds from the Retro Bowl will be spread across all of the agency’s programs to assist in providing consumers of these programs with emergency food when needed and help the agency build a reserve for the future.

Executive Director of OCO, Diane Cooper-Currier said that supporting programs and services that combat hunger aligns nicely with OCO’s mission.

“As an anti-poverty agency, our focus is fighting poverty in any form. The inability to afford or prepare nutritious meals is certainly one of the most troubling forms of poverty we see. Our Retro Bowl fundraiser will help ensure that our consumers, regardless of which program they are accessing, will have the emergency food supplies they need for themselves and their families,” said Cooper-Currier.

While food subsidy is an aspect of all of OCO’s programs, the agency’s premier anti-hunger program is its Nutrition Service program.

Originally established to help provide meals for seniors, OCO Nutrition Services has evolved into a well rounded program that operates eight dining and activity centers; provides a home delivered meal service for seniors, as well a private pay program for those under 60; offers a supplemental summer food program for youth throughout Oswego County; and an after school program in Fulton that provides food for youth up to 18 years of age.

Last year alone OCO Nutrition Services served 239,769 meals to Oswego County residents 60 and older; provided 16,360 meals to youth up to 18 years of age; and fed 50 children in its after school and summer food programs.

Additionally, OCO Nutrition Services delivered 650 ‘Blizzard Bags’ filled with non-perishable foods to homebound residents so that they may have a day or two of food on hand in the event of bad weather.

The centerpiece of OCO Nutrition Services is the eight Dining and Activity Centers that the program hosts.

The centers provide a warm meal and a welcoming environment for those 60 and older wishing to enjoy some fun, quality time with others in their community.

The Dining and Activities Centers are open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and are located at:

Constantia – St. Bernadette’s Church, 1667 State Route 49 – Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday – 315-623-9803

Fulton – Fulton Municipal Building, 141 S. First St. – Open Monday – Friday – 315-592-3408

Hannibal – Community Library, 162 Oswego St. – Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday – 315-564-5471

Mexico – Presbyterian Church, 4316 Church St. – Open Wednesday, Friday – 315-963-7757

Parish – Presbyterian Church, 814 Rider St. – Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday – 315-625-4617

Phoenix – Congregational Church, 3 Bridge St. – Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday – 315-695-4841

Sandy Creek – Methodist Church, 2031 Harwood Drive – Open Monday – Friday – 315-298-5020

“It’s amazing to think of the impact that our program has on hunger in our county,” said Amy Roland, director of OCO Nutrition Services. “Our kitchen staff, our drivers, the staffs of our dining and activity centers, and our army of volunteers that we are fortunate enough to have, are busy all day long preparing, packaging and delivering meals each and every day, Monday through Friday.  The need for food subsidy in Oswego County is staggering. It is rewarding to know that OCO Nutrition Services does more than its share to provide hundreds of nutritionally balanced meals and snacks every day to those that are hungry right here in our own communities.”

Roland added that she is looking at ways to expand the OCO Nutrition Services by providing even more meals and making the summer food program for local youth available at more locations.

The summer food program, currently at 12 locations in the county, provides up to two meals per day, Monday through Friday throughout the summer break.

The OCO Retro Bowl takes place from noon – 6 p.m. at Lakeview Lanes.

Registration is now open for five-person teams, with choice of flights: noon – 2:30 p.m. or 3 – 5:30 p.m. (first come, first served).

The 2014 OCO Retro Bowl is sponsored by “Making a Difference” Sponsor G&C Foods, and “Building Dreams” Sponsors NRG Oswego Harbor Power, LLC; Oswego County Federal Credit Union; POMCO; and the Walmart Foundation.

For registration or sponsor information, or to donate a door prize, contact OCO at 598-4717 or visit the agency’s website at www.oco.org

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 600 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