Three local Meals on Wheels chapters are participating in the national organization's annual March for Meals campaign to bring attention to their cause: delivering meals to homebound senior citizens.
“March for Meals started 13 years ago as a way to mobilize local Meals on Wheels programs across the country to raise awareness for their vital services and the needs of the seniors they serve,” said Jenny Bertolette, spokeswoman for Meals on Wheels Association America. “Throughout the month-long March for Meals celebration, local Meals on Wheels programs across the country hold events to speak out and recruit supporters to bolster the vital services they provide to vulnerable seniors.”
Around 400 chapters across the country celebrate March for Meals, Bertolette said.
“This past week, we also celebrated Community Champions Week,” she said. “March for Meals Community Champions are elected officials, community leaders and/or prominent figures who pledge to deliver meals or help raise awareness with their local Meals on Wheels program during Community Champions Weeks or at some other point during March.”
Some local Community Champions include Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue.
“The best thing about the March for Wheels campaign is that it helps to heighten awareness about senior issues and how something as basic as a meal can actually be the difference between a person living on their own or going into assisted living,” said Stacey Yusko, executive director for Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels.
“The March for Meals campaign just helps us at a national level by bringing attention to every program in the country at the same time,” Yusko said.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels delivers over 38,000 meals per year and around 160 meals a day, she said.
“This is an opportunity for us to engage more people and raise awareness about what we do and the problems that seniors that are homebound face,” said Gale Adland, executive director for Meals on Wheels of Durham. “The point of this campaign is to raise awareness.”
Adland said Durham's Meals on Wheels delivers around 90,000 meals per year.
This is the fifth year that the Durham chapter has participated in March for Wheels, she said.
On April 18, Durham's Meals on Wheels will be hosting an event at Kendra Scott jewelry store at Southpoint Mall, where 20 percent of the proceeds will go to the organization.
“We pretty heavily use social media, and we appear at community health fairs, churches, and civic organizations,” Adland said. “We’re trying to use forms of communication that can reach people that don’t use social media as well as those who are.”
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