Bond County Senior Center is proud to announce that it has received a $1,750.00 grant award from Meals on Wheels America for its participation in the 14th Annual March for Meals campaign. This past March was Bond County Senior Center’s 2nd year participating in the national Meals on Wheels awareness campaign designed to celebrate the proven collaboration of local community organizations, businesses, all levels of government and compassionate individuals to ensure that our seniors are not forgotten.
Anna Oestreich, Executive Director of the Bond County Senior Center & Food Pantry said, “Throughout the month of March, the Center worked with outstanding Community Champions to raise awareness, funds, and recruit volunteers for our countywide Meals on Wheels program. Working for us as this year’s champions were: 911 Operator and Police Dispatcher Becky Blackburn and her son Nick Blackburn, community activist Patti Brooks, pharmacist and owner of Watson’s Drug Store, Bart Caldieraro, and Illinois State Senator Kyle McCarter.
“Our champions delivered meals, shared information on social media, held fundraising events, promoted Bond County Meals on Wheels, and made personal donations. Also notable this year was the involvement of local businesses that carried out some creative activities, like Scott’s Meats that donated a portion of the proceeds from their month long brat sale! Make no mistake about it, carrying out these activities takes time, effort, and commitment! Their hard work resulted in raising a record total of over $3800.00!”
Nearly $400,000 has been granted to 265 local Meals on Wheels programs and one Meals on Wheels America-affiliated State Association based on their March for Meals efforts. This year’s grants were made possible through the generosity of Subaru of America, Inc. and its eighth annual Share the Love Event. During the event held from November 19, 2015 through January 2, 2016, $250 was donated to a customer’s choice of a national or hometown charity for every new Subaru vehicle purchased or leased. Meals on Wheels America has been a participating national charity since the event’s inception in 2008.
“The March for Meals grant program is our way of recognizing Meals on Wheels America Members for their efforts to raise awareness and much-needed support for the critical service they provide their communities,” said Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander. “Together, we can change the way this country cares for its seniors.”
The annual March for Meals campaign is an effort led by Meals on Wheels America to present opportunities for volunteers, businesses and governments to support seniors in a variety of ways that make communities stronger, safer and healthier. For more information, visit marchformeals.com.
Regarding the Bond County Meals on Wheels program, Oestreich said, “The services that we provide the seniors of Bond County are critical and the need is rapidly increasing. Together we can keep seniors living independently, healthier at home and feeling more connected to the community as they age. The Meals on Wheels program is more than just a meal. That model addresses three of the biggest threats of aging: isolation, hunger, and loss of independence. In a study done by researchers at Brown University and released in March of 2015, 83% of seniors receiving home delivered meals reported that it improved their health, 87% said that it made them feel more secure, and 92% said that it enabled them to live at home! Phases two and three of the study are currently being conducted to understand and validate the extended benefits of Meals on Wheels.
“More than ever, we must join forces to meet the needs of the fastest growing segment of the population in America who want to be able to live at home as long as they can. It not only make economic sense to enable seniors to stay healthy and safe at home, but it improves the health and vibrancy of our community and our nation at large.
“Bond County Senior Center serves about 600 home delivered meals monthly to home bound older adults. Many people are aware that the lack of a state budget had an immediate negative impact on our services. Thanks to the generosity of our community, we were able to keep the services flowing. We don’t know what the future holds.”
For more on the Bond County Senior Center or the Food Pantry, call 618-664-1465 or visit www.bondseniors.org.