March for Meals Campaign launched

Oswego County Opportunities’ Senior Nutrition Services is asking county residents to be a part of their annual March for Meals campaign and join them in their pledge to end senior hunger by 2020.

OCO’s March for Meals campaign helps to raise the awareness of senior hunger in the community and serves as a fund-raiser to support OCO’s Home Delivered Meal Service.

Program Services Coordinator Bridget Dolbear said that the March for Meals campaign is encouraging community members to support OCO’s Home Delivered Meal Service by pledging to end senior hunger by 2020.

“We are inviting everyone in our community to visit one of our eight Senior Dining and Activity Centers or our Administrative offices at 239 Oneida St. in Fulton and sign a pledge to end senior hunger by 2020,” said Dolbear. “We are also accepting donations throughout the month.  It costs approximately $5 to feed one homebound senior for one day. We will gladly accept donations of any size to help us continue our Home Delivered Meal Service.” According to research conducted by the Meals On Wheels Association of America, the problem of senior hunger is increasing as approximately 7.5 million seniors in America face the threat of hunger.

Dolbear added that Oswego County is also experiencing an increase in senior hunger. “Our Home Delivered Meal Service delivers nutritious meals to more than 500 seniors, and our Dining and Activity Centers provide hot meals and companionship to hundreds of seniors, many which would not be able to afford a hot meal,” she said. “More than 90 percent of our consumers have said that OCO’s Home Delivered Meals Service has a positive effect on their life and helps them to continue living independently.”

Meals On Wheels programs across the country are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the inclusion of Senior Nutrition Programs in the Older Americans Act. The act is the primary piece of federal legislation that authorizes and supports vital nutrition services, both congregate and Meals On Wheels, to Americans age 60 and older.

Meals On Wheels supporters may also take the Meals on Wheels Association of America’s Pledge online at mowwa.org/pledge. “It’s a great way to connect with others who believe in this worthwhile cause,” said Dolbear.

As part of OCO’s March for Meals campaign, participants in OCO’s Senior Nutrition Services were asked to share a story about their life, submissions could be just a few sentences or several paragraphs long and could include any information about their life that they would like to share, such as what they did for a living, the most interesting thing that happened in their life, the love of their life, or notable political or world events that they have witnessed.

According to Dolbear, the response was overwhelming.

“We received more than 80 submissions and numerous phone calls from senior wishing to share their stories,” she said. “People wrote about serving in the military during World War II, the Great Depression, their wedding day, and even that their surprise 85th birthday party was the best day of their life.

“The seniors that our Meals on Wheels program serve are the people who helped shape our nation. Their stories are our stories,” she continued. “They inspire us to do what we do and we are proud to serve them. I invite community members to visit our main office at 239 East Oneida Street in Fulton and read some of these moving and inspiring stories that we have on display in the lobby.”

OCO’ Senior Nutrition Services will also be hosting Mayors for Meals Day March 21. Mayors and community leaders from throughout Oswego County will join members of OCO’s administration staff in helping to deliver meals to seniors as part of our Home Delivered Meals program and serving meals to seniors at one of our eight senior dining and activity centers.

“We are offering mayors and community leaders the opportunity to show their support for our community’s hungry seniors by participating,” said Dolbear. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our mayors and community leaders to show their support for our Senior Nutrition programs and the seniors we serve, while meeting some of their constituents and witnessing firsthand the value of our Home Delivered Meals program.”

Administered through OCO’s Senior Nutrition Services and funded in part through Oswego County Office for the Aging, the Home Delivered Meal Service provides delivery of nutritious meals to Oswego County residents who are home bound.  Program participants receive two nutritionally balanced meals a day up to five days a week.

In addition, OCO’s Senior Services administers eight Dining and Activity Centers where seniors can enjoy a hot, nutritious noontime meal and visit with friends.

These centers are located in Fulton, Sandy Creek, Oswego, Mexico, Hannibal, Parish, Phoenix and Constantia.

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