The Cattaraugus County Department of the Aging's Senior Wellness and Nutrition program will participate in the national 2012 March for Meals campaign.
The event will include "Mayors for Meals Day" on March 21 as well as a "40 for 40" fundraiser.
March for Meals is a national campaign held during the month of March, initiated and sponsored by the Meals on Wheels Association of America to raise awareness of senior hunger and to encourage action on the part of local communities. Meals on Wheels programs across the country are also 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 to Americans age 60 and older.
"In this tough economy, the food and human contact we provide to seniors in this community is needed more than ever," said Barbara Woodarek, nutrition services coordinator for the Cattaraugus County Department of the Aging. "We need the community to come out and support our March for Meals events. Our clients are counting on us; we can't let them down."
Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver meals to more than 575 senior citizens in Cattaraugus County. The volunteers understand the tremendous need in their communities.
Those who can afford to do so usually donate the cost of fuel to deliver meals; however, many volunteers need assistance to pay for fuel.
A modest mileage reimbursement program is offered through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, but this year the budget was cut 80 percent.
The Department of the Aging would like to replenish the mileage reimbursement fund to keep volunteers on the road delivering Meals on Wheels.
The community can help replenish the mileage reimbursement fund by participating in the Department of the Aging's "40 for 40" fundraiser. In 1972, 40 years ago, a gallon of gas cost about 40 cents. The "40 for 40" fundraising goal is $5,000.
"Our volunteers donate their time and use their own vehicles," said David Rodkey, RSVP coordinator. "With the rising cost of gas, it would be great if we could help them out."
To make a donation to the "40 for 40" fundraiser, make checks payable to "Meals on Wheels of Cattaraugus County." Donations can be sent to the Cattaraugus County Department of the Aging, 1 Leo Moss Drive, Suite 7610, Olean, NY 14760.
For more information, call David Rodkey at 373-8032 or 800-462-2901.