Senior agencies observing 19th annual “March for Meals”

Press Staff Writer

        The Wood County Committee on Aging (WCCOA) and Ottawa County Senior Resources are participating in the 19th annual March for Meals – a month-long, nationwide celebration of Meal on Wheels and senior neighbors who rely on the vital service to remain healthy and independent at home, especially now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
        Ottawa County Senior Resources celebrated with a “March for Meals Day” on March 18, where seniors across the county had the opportunity to pick up a boxed lunch provided by one the county’s local restaurants. The boxed lunch was served to home-delivered meals clients.
        “In the last year, we have experienced a 30% increase in the demand for our services in all parts of Ottawa County,” said Dianne Martin Mortensen, director of Ottawa County Senior Resources. “We are thankful for the outpouring of support over this past year. Despite this support there’s still much more we can do to ensure everyone in need of our vital lifeline can benefit from being well-nourished and more connected to our community through this challenging time as well as into the future.”
        In 2020, despite the pandemic that affected all aspects of our normal life activities, Ottawa County Senior Resources served nearly 500 home-delivered meal clients with a total of 62,030 meals. Grab & Go meals, which started last March after the mandated closure of county senior centers, served 737 seniors with nearly 10,000 meals.
        “Ottawa County Senior Resources is proud of its commitment to the seniors of Ottawa County,” Mortensen said. “While the pandemic raged throughout our country, Senior Resources was able to maintain the Home-Delivered Meal Program and continue to serve our senior center seniors through our Grab & Go clients.
        “The support of our community remained steadfast as we continue to help seniors maintain their independence,” she said.
        Need for services growing
        WCCOA’s celebration will include a special Community Champion’s Week from Monday, March 22 through Friday, March 26, during which WCCOA will invite local elected officials to join experienced volunteers on their meal delivery routes to see the service in action.
        “The services we provide are needed now more than ever for the older adults throughout Wood County,” said Angie Bradford, Director of Food Service at WCCOA. “Together, we can keep our homebound neighbors safe, well-nourished, and more connected to our community as they age.”
        WCCOA has been delivering meals to homebound Wood County seniors through their Home-Delivered Meal Program since 1981. Currently, hot, nutritious meals are being provided to more than 750 seniors every weekday.
        The annual March for Meals celebration commemorates the the historic day, March 22, 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed into law a measure that amended the Older Americans Act of 1965 to include a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older. Since 2002, community-based Meals on Wheels programs from across the country have joined forces for the annual awareness campaign to celebrate this successful public-private partnership and garner the support needed to fill the gap between the seniors served and those still in need.


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