Support will help to fight senior hunger and isolation in Northeast Ohio now and for the next 50 years.
Akron/Canton, OH (March 4, 2022) – Meals On Wheels of Northeast Ohio, a program of Vantage Aging, announced today that it will be participating in a special March for Meals celebration honoring the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program, the federal legislation that helps to fund community-based programs like Meals on Wheels. Throughout the month of March, Meals On Wheels NEO will join the national Meals on Wheels network to raise awareness and rally support for this vital public-private partnership that has helped provide the seniors in Northeast Ohio with an essential service needed to remain healthy and independent at home.
“In the last two years, we have seen the true meaning of community as partners and individuals stepped up to ensure that no senior was left hungry and alone amidst a global pandemic,” said Ted Watko, CEO of VANTAGE Aging. “The Meals On Wheels program serves as a vital resource to hundreds of seniors living at home who rely on us to stay well-nourished and more connected to our community. There’s still much we can do to ensure everyone in need of nutritious meals has access to the resources they need. We hope you will join us and our community’s seniors this March to advocate for these necessary programs.”
The annual March for Meals celebration commemorates the historic day in March of 1972 when President Nixon signed into law a measure that amended the Older Americans Act of 1965 to include a national nutrition program for seniors 60 years and older. This year, Meals on Wheels programs from across the country are joining forces for the awareness campaign to celebrate 50 years of success and garner the support needed to ensure these critical programs can continue to address food insecurity and malnutrition, combat social isolation, enable independence, and improve health for years to come.
“The Older Americans Act Nutrition Program is the only federally supported program designed to be an antidote for both senior hunger and isolation,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “Despite decades of proven success and bipartisan support, funding for this program has failed to keep pace with the rapidly growing need for its services. With the nation’s senior population increasing dramatically, now is the time to support local Meals on Wheels programs – through volunteering, donating and speaking out – to ensure we are able to deliver for another 50 years.”
Meals On Wheels NEO’s celebration will include various activities throughout the month of March, including videos celebrating and educating on the Meals On Wheels program and the importance of access to nutritious meals for seniors in Northeast Ohio. Community Partners who will be participating in the #MarchforMeals social media campaign include: Mayor Thomas M. Bernabei, City of Canton; Mayor Don Walters, City of Cuyahoga Falls; Mayor John Pribonic, City of Stow; Mayor Gerard Neugebauer, City of Green; Mayor Dave Handwerk, City of Orrville; Plain Township Trustee Brook Harless; Judge Jon Oldham and Judge Ron Cable, Akron Municipal Court; Direction Home Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities; Western Reserve Hospital; Nikolina DjDiva, Q92.
Community members and organizations are invited to post their own video on social media sharing why Meals On Wheels is important to the neighborhoods we live and work in.
Meals On Wheels NEO also encourages the community to volunteer during Community Champions Week, March 21-25. Community members, partners, and leaders are invited to join us this week to tour the Massillon-based commercial kitchen and deliver meals to seniors. Meal deliveries take between an hour to an hour and a half, and provide you with a chance to explore a new part of your community and see the impact of the program hands-on. Contact Molly Leslein at email@example.com to schedule your route.
For more information on how you can volunteer, contribute, or speak out for the seniors in Stark, Summit, or Wayne County this March, contact Meals On Wheels at 330-832-7220.
About VANTAGE Aging:
VANTAGE Aging promotes a positive perspective on aging to ensure that every older adult has the opportunity to live a healthy life and age with independence, purpose and dignity.. Non-medical in-home care is provided by Home Wellness Solutions. Job training for low-income adults age 55 and older is offered through the Senior Community Service Employment Program. Evidenced-based volunteering to meet local and national needs is provided by RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) volunteers. Meals on Wheels of Northeast Ohio provides home-delivered and congregate meals to provide nutritional support to the homebound and disabled. Overall, VANTAGE’s programs come together to offer a path for positive aging. Founded in 1975 as a senior citizen program, VANTAGE has since become an independent, nationally respected organization with offices throughout the state. For more information, call 330-253-4597 or visit www.vantageaging.org.
Director of Community Engagement
Meals On Wheels of Northeast Ohio, a program of VANTAGE Aging