Even though the grass is still green members of Oswego County OpportunitiesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ Senior Services Division are already planning for another winter season.
Each year, with the help of caring businesses, organizations and community members, OCOÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Senior Services Division prepares and distributes hundreds of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Blizzard BagsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ to seniors throughout Oswego County.
The ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Blizzard BagsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ program provides OCOÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢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 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Blizzard BagsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ were delivered to OCOÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s home delivered meal clients with another 100 distributed to clients at OCOÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s dining and activity sites.
With the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Blizzard BagÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ project entering its third year, Coordinator, Tracy Doherty of OCOÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢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.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œOur ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Blizzard BagÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ program has been well received by both our clients and the community,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Doherty. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThanks 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.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Doherty added that OCO is currently accepting donations of food and paper bags for this yearÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Blizzard BagsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢. 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 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Blizzard BagsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ for their seniors who have pets.
Since each ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Blizzard BagÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ is individually prepared, labeled, and comes with a cheery note to help brighten the recipientÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s day and explain the purpose of the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Blizzard BagÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢, 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 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Blizzard BagsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe like to make the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Blizzard BagsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ colorful and appealing. The seniors appreciate them and truly enjoy reading the personalized notes that we include with each bag,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â added Doherty.
For more information on donating items to, or volunteering to assist with OCOÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Blizzard BagÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ 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.
OCOÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢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 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Senior Services, Transportation, Mental Hygiene, Health, Youth, Services to Aid Families, and ChildrenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s. For more information visit their Web Site at www.oco.org.