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OCO to Prepare ‘Blizzard Bags’

Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
FULTON, NY – Even though the grass is still green, members of Oswego County Opportunities’ Nutrition Services are already planning for another winter season.

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

Volunteer coordinator Christine Parks prepares ‘Blizzard Bags’ for distribution to clients in the home delivered meal program. The bags serve as a security measure in the event that clients are unable to receive their home delivered meal due to inclement weather.
Volunteer coordinator Christine Parks prepares ‘Blizzard Bags’ for distribution to clients in the home delivered meal program. The bags serve as a security measure in the event that clients are unable to receive their home delivered meal due to inclement weather.

The ‘Blizzard Bags’ program provides OCO’s 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 “Blizzard Bag, is individually prepared and labeled and contains an assortment of food items along with a cheery note to brighten the recipient’s day and explain the purpose of the “Blizzard 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 project entering its seventh year, volunteer coordinator Christine Parks of OCO’s Nutrition Services 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. 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 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,” she said.

Parks added that they have already received generous support from the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of Oswego County.

“Many troops are returning this year to once again participate in our Blizzard Bag project. With all of this help from our community partners, this will be an awesome year for our home delivered clients,” said Parks. “We are currently accepting donations of food and paper bags for this year’s ‘Blizzard Bags.’ Look for the donation boxes in our front lobby in the Fulton office, at 239 Oneida St. or our Mexico kitchen at 5871 Scenic Ave. or at any one of our eight dining and activity centers.”

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, microwave dish or packets, fruit and pudding cups, and small can soups.

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

For more information on donating items or volunteering to assist with OCO’s ‘Blizzard Bag’ program, call Parks at 598-4712 ext. 1807.

A private, non-profit agency, OCO touches the lives of more than 30,000 people each year through more than 50 programs operating in over 80 locations throughout Oswego County.

The agency, which is a United Way of Greater Oswego County member, employs more than 650 people and has more than 1,200 highly valued volunteers.

For more information, visit www.oco.org