OCO seeks donations for this year’s Blizzard Bags

Even though the grass is still green and the weather’s mild, members of Oswego County Opportunities’ (OCO) Nutrition Services already are planning for another winter season.

Each year, businesses, organizations and community members help OCO’s Nutrition Services prepare and distribute hundreds of “Blizzard Bags” to home delivered clients throughout Oswego County.

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 food and  a friendly note to brighten the recipient’s day and explain the purpose of 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 eighth year, OCO’s Nutrition Services is looking forward to expanding the program and has begun soliciting donations and volunteers to ensure 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 volunteer coordinator Christine Parks.

“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 added.

Parks said they have already received 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,” Park said. “Additionally, many elementary school students throughout Oswego County are decorating the bags, making cards and ornaments for inclusion in the ‘Blizzard Bags.’

“The students enjoy being a part of this community project. With all of this help from our community partners, this will be an awesome year for our home delivered clients,” said Parks.

OCO is accepting donations of food and paper bags for this year’s “Blizzard Bags.” Donation boxes can be found in the lobby OCO’s main office, at 239 Oneida St., Fulton, OCO’s Nutrition Services site at 5871 Scenic Ave. in Mexico, or at any of OCO’s eight Dining and Activity Centers.

Food items needed 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

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, extension 1807, or visit oco.org.

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