EASLEY – Pickens County Meals on Wheels held its annual March for Meals Campaign during March to create understanding about senior hunger issues by connecting local businesses, residents and public officials with senior nutrition services like Pickens County Meals on Wheels.
Initiated by the Meals on Wheels Association of America, this year’s March for Meals emphasized how programs like Meals on Wheels are essential to helping seniors live independently in their own homes.
Each week day PCMOW volunteers on 22 different routes help keep over 240 homebound elderly and disabled seniors healthy, fed, safe and independent.
Throughout March, PCMOW hosted a variety of awareness, fundraising and volunteer activities. The “Take-us-for-a-Test-Drive” campaign, where people rode with volunteers during their regular delivery, produced seven new volunteers and one new driving group.
Fundraising activities included a wine tasting and wine auction held by the Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards on March 28. The event was coordinated by Sue Grill and members donated over $2,600, which will pay for more than 520 meals for Pickens County seniors.
“Funding and volunteers are critical ingredients to the program’s success. We cannot operate without either,” said Meta Bowers, executive director of PCMOW.
PCMOW supporter Timothy Moriarty, restaurant manager of LongHorn Steakhouse in Easley, helped PCMOW secure a $1,000 grant from the Darden Restaurants Foundation Inc. in support of hunger relief and PCMOW.
Another crucial part of the March-for-Meals outreach was Community Champion’s Week held March 17 through March 21. Emphasis was placed on involving local elected officials as well as church, business and community leaders to encourage participation in all parts of the program.
On March 17, Kent Dykes, a member of the Easley City Council and PCMOW board, delivered meals with PCMOW volunteer David Whittemore from R. Carl Byars Insurance Agency, Randy Bowers from Bowers Emergency & Bowers Signature Services, David Wingard from Wingard Jewelers & Bleu Voodoo Grill and Meta Bowers.
In Six Mile, Mayor Roy Stoddard delivered meals to Six Mile seniors on the same route where he is a volunteer driver every Monday. Donna Hendricks of Cassell and Hendricks delivered for the Pickens Rotary Club, which also delivers meals every Monday.
On March 19, Walker Smith of Congressman Jeff Duncan’s office and Easley Mayor Larry Bagwell and his wife Lu showed their support for the March for Meals campaign by helping coordinate the day’s meals and thank Easley volunteers.
On March 20, Liberty Mayor Eric Boughman met with Meta Bowers to discuss the needs of seniors in Liberty and presented PCMOW with a check for $200.
On March 22, Cindy Hopkins of the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce, and Kerri Blanton, PCMOW volunteer, delivered the Easley 2 route. Andy Sevic of Easley Combined Utilities delivered for the Easley Rotary Club which provides coverage every Friday on the Easley 7 route. In Pickens, Rep. Davey Hiott came out to thank volunteers and helped with the meal deliveries.
During March over 53 Community Champions, including members of Pickens County Council, Sen. Larry Martin; Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark, Julie Capaldi from United Way of Pickens County and Michael Fee from Reliable Automatic Sprinkler, pledged their support of the 2014 March for Meals campaign.
“We were very excited to have so many elected officials, business owners and volunteers available to participate this year,” said Bowers. “It was a great learning experience for us all. The food and human contact we provide to seniors in Pickens County is needed more than ever. Our clients count on us each weekday.”
Visit www.pcmow.org, call 855-3770 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.