The annual campaign, in conjunction with Oswego County Opportunities’ Community Champions Week, is one of the many ways in which local agencies are raising awareness of senior hunger and the benefits of the Meals on Wheels program. In addition to helping deliver meals to home bound seniors, volunteers have also served meals at OCO’s dining and activity centers throughout Oswego County.
Office for the Aging Administrator Sara Sunday helped Sheriff’s Deputy Kristy Crast deliver meals to Oswego city residents. Deputy Crast is assigned to the Sheriff’s Office community relations team and delivers meals to Oswego residents when it doesn’t interfere with a priority call.
“Deputy Crast’s route participants get a kick out of her arriving dressed in her uniform and in her patrol car,” said Sunday. “Along with providing meals, the drivers can check on the well-being of their clients and often provide social contact with the outside world. A meal driver may be the only person a client sees that day.”
Home delivered meals are available to any Oswego County resident age 60 years or older who is incapacitated due to illness, surgery, physical handicap or advancing age; is unable to prepare their own meals; and is without support of family, friends or neighbors for meal preparation. Services are available without regard to income.
The program is funded by Oswego County government, the Administration for Community Living, New York State Office for the Aging, and United Way of Greater Oswego County. Administered through OCO’s Nutrition Services, last year the Meals on Wheels program delivered more than 1,000 meals a day and provided 227,630 home delivered meals to 820 seniors.
With 18 volunteer routes, Meals on Wheels provides nutritious meals to homebound seniors in every area of Oswego County.
“Our program relies heavily on the assistance we receive from our volunteers,” said Support Services Manager Christine Parks. “We couldn’t do it without them. I encourage community members to consider becoming a Meals on Wheels volunteer. It’s a very rewarding experience and most routes are only an hour long.”
“I look forward to participating in Community Champions Week each year as it is a great opportunity to work with OCO and meet the people we are serving,” said Sunday. “It’s important to have that one-to-one contact, hear what they have to say and to let them know that we are here for them. The primary mission of the Oswego County Office for the Aging is to keep people in their homes as long as possible, as safely as possible. Providing nutritious meals through OCO’s Meals on Wheels program is one way to help them do so.”
Sunday said that everyone who receives a meal has the opportunity to contribute. The suggested contribution is $4 per day for a double meal. Nobody is refused service for inability or unwillingness to contribute.
Referrals may be made to the Home Delivered Meals program by calling the Office for the Aging weekdays at (315) 349-3484.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about becoming a Meals on Wheels volunteer may contact OCO Nutrition Services at (315) 598-4712 or visit https://www.oco.org/.
OCO is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966. A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 100 separate locations. For more information, visit https://www.oco.org/.