Meals on Wheels
Fishing for Funds
By Amy Stewart
Mother Nature might have moved the March for Meals event indoors, but the threatening weather didn't dampen the spirit of supporters at the Caddo Council o n A g i n g 's (CCOA) annual awareness raising event. The CCOA's lofty goal is to end hunger among the elderly in our community and they are succeeding through Meals on Wheels. The Meals on Wheels program currently delivers more than 1000 meals throughout Caddo Parish each weekday. In addition to being the only hot meal of the day, for some recipients it is also their only social interaction. The program is designed for seniors (over 60) that have physical impairments which diminish their ability to cook nutritious meals and is available at no or reduced cost to those who qualify. The program is funded with money from federal, state and local governments, grants and donations. To help keep costs lower, CCOA implemented a system utilizing businesses and volunteers to help deliver meals through delivery stations. The station concept has been an innovative tool to spread awareness and resources and is a quick way to lend a voluntary hand. Volunteers spend about 45 minutes once or twice a week delivering meals to 8 recipients. CCOA executive director Mary Alice Rountree embraces this public support. "These volunteers are the lifeblood of Meals on Wheels," according to Rountree. "And it doesn't take them long to feel an ownership in the program. " Rountree isn't shy about asking for help. When the CCOA webpage needed a facelift, Pixel Fusion stepped in with pro bono work and a new meal delivery van is being donated by Chesapeake Energy and Twin Cities Development.
The March for Meals ‘campaign' slogan of "Fishing for Funds" was creatively expressed by council volunteers, who designed fishing rods with food trays, and revelers at the Municipal Auditorium rally sported fishing vests adorned with bait and bite sized fish crackers. Participants filled the auditorium floor and a few even boogied to the fantastic melodies played by Byrd High School's Jazz Band. (They were astonishing!) Liz Swaine, CCOA Board President, led the event with poise and humor while noting the real mission of the day - to raise money. After a drum roll that lacked zest Liz prompted a challenge to the drummers; Byrd High did not disappoint playing a spirited rhythm that spawned enthusiasm in the crowd and dignitaries on the stage. The CCOA recognized those state, parish and city leaders for their work in allocating resources for the meals on wheels program. Though the program is successfully feeding more than 1,000 seniors per week, more than 200 remain on waiting lists. The CCOA's fundraising goal to eliminate that waiting list is $150,000.
Amy Stewart is Director of Community Education at Hospice of Shreveport/Bossier
and is on the Board of the Caddo Council On Aging.
Have you ever thought about growing old?
Imagine being alone and waiting for a meal that never comes.
Help cast out hunger in our community!
Mail a donation to:
CCOA 4015 Greenwood Road
Shreveport, LA 71109
or donate online at www.CaddoCouncilonAging.org