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OCO to Prepare ‘Blizzard Bags’

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</p>Tracy Doherty, of OCO’s Senior Services Division prepares to deliver ‘Blizzard Bags’ to clients in OCO’s Senior Services Division.  ‘Blizzard Bags’ are distributed to seniors in the home delivered meal program and to those who attend OCO’s dining and activities sites.  The bags serve as a security measure in the event that seniors are unable to receive their home delivered meal due to inclement weather.  OCO is currently soliciting donations of food and paper bags as well as volunteers to help prepare ‘Blizzard Bags’ for distribution this winter.
Tracy Doherty, of OCO’s Senior Services Division prepares to deliver ‘Blizzard Bags’ to clients in OCO’s Senior Services Division. ‘Blizzard Bags’ are distributed to seniors in the home delivered meal program and to those who attend OCO’s dining and activities sites. The bags serve as a security measure in the event that seniors are unable to receive their home delivered meal due to inclement weather. OCO is currently soliciting donations of food and paper bags as well as volunteers to help prepare ‘Blizzard Bags’ for distribution this winter.

Even though the grass is still green members of Oswego County Opportunities’ Senior Services Division are already planning for another winter season.

Each year, with the help of caring businesses, organizations and community members, OCO’s Senior Services Division prepares and distributes hundreds of ‘Blizzard Bags’ to seniors throughout Oswego County.

The ‘Blizzard Bags’ program provides OCO’s senior clients with an emergency supply of food in the event that they are unable to receive their regular home delivered meal due to inclement weather conditions.

Each bag contains an assortment of food items along with a note explaining the purpose of the bag and a cheery hello from the person who created the bag. Last winter more than 500 ‘Blizzard Bags’ were delivered to OCO’s home delivered meal clients with another 100 distributed to clients at OCO’s dining and activity sites.

With the ‘Blizzard Bag’ project entering its third year, Coordinator, Tracy Doherty of OCO’s Senior Services Division is looking forward to expanding the program and has already begun soliciting donations and volunteers to ensure that the program will be ready to go when the snow starts to fly.

“Our ‘Blizzard Bag’ program has been well received by both our clients and the community,” said Doherty. “Thanks to the generous donations we receive from local grocery stores, concerned community members, service groups and our own OCO employees, we are able to ensure that our senior clients will have a nutritious meal on hand in the event that winter weather prevents the home delivery of their meal or if they are unable to visit one of our dining and activity sites.”

Doherty added that OCO is currently accepting donations of food and paper bags for this year’s ‘Blizzard Bags’. Food items they are in need of include:

– Oatmeal packets

– Ramen noodles/soup packets

– Cereal bars

– Small Packaged crackers

– Small Packaged cookies

– Small juice bottles/juice boxes

– Hot Cocoa packets

– Tea bags

– Hard candies

OCO is also accepting donations of pet food so that they can offer Pet ‘Blizzard Bags’ for their seniors who have pets.

Since each ‘Blizzard Bag’ is individually prepared, labeled, and comes with a cheery note to help brighten the recipient’s day and explain the purpose of the ‘Blizzard Bag’, Doherty said that there is also a need for community members who would like to volunteer their time and talents to preparing and labeling the ‘Blizzard Bags’. “We like to make the ‘Blizzard Bags’ colorful and appealing. The seniors appreciate them and truly enjoy reading the personalized notes that we include with each bag,” added Doherty.

For more information on donating items to, or volunteering to assist with OCO’s ‘Blizzard Bag’ program you may contact Tracy Doherty at 598-4712, ext. 1067. Donations may also be dropped off at Oswego County Opportunities, 239 Oneida Street in Fulton.

OCO’s Senior Services Division provides home delivered meals throughout Oswego County and operates senior community dining and activities sites in Constantia, Fulton, Hannibal, Mexico, Oswego, Parish, Phoenix and Pulaski. Home delivered meals and senior meals sites are funded through Oswego County Office for the Aging.

OCO Inc. is a not-for-profit Community Action Agency, supported by United Way, and includes seven service divisions – Senior Services, Transportation, Mental Hygiene, Health, Youth, Services to Aid Families, and Children’s. For more information visit their Web Site at www.oco.org.