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Local Officials and Leaders Invited to Deliver Meals in March

Julie Pedersen

Friday, February 21, 2014 • 1:06am

SAGE Eldercare will be participating for the eighth consecutive year in the national 2014 “March For Meals” campaign, organized by the Meal On Wheels Association of America. 

In addition to local elected officials, police and fire chiefs, and town administrators, SAGE Eldercare is encouraging local civic groups, business owners, and religious leaders to spend an hour and a half of their time to deliver meals to local seniors. 

Additionally, anyone can take the pledge to help end senior hunger by 2020 by registering online at www.mowaa.org/takethepledge (“SAGE Eldercare” should be designated as the local program).

“In this tough economy, the food and human contact we provide to seniors in the surrounding communities is needed more than ever,” said Marianne Kranz, SAGE Eldercare’s Director of Meals On Wheels and Volunteers.  “We need the local officials from each town we deliver meals to, along with county and state representatives and the public-at-large to come out and support this effort.  It is vital that the community gets a sense of homebound seniors who are often “hidden.”  SAGE volunteers are often the only people checking in on these individuals and without the support of local governments and officials we wouldn’t be able to do our job.”

Kranz emphasizes that for many homebound seniors, the friendly visit from a Meals On Wheels (MOW) volunteer may be the only contact they have with someone that day.  About fifteen times a year, SAGE has to turn to the police to do welfare checks on clients who don’t respond, and about five times a year, SAGE MOW volunteer calls 911 when finding a client in need of immediate professional and/or medical assistance.

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.  Hundreds of Senior Nutrition Programs across the United States, like SAGE Eldercare, promote March For Meals through public events, partnerships with local businesses, volunteer recruitment and fundraising initiatives.

SAGE’s Meals On Wheels, established in 1966, is the oldest MOW program in New Jersey.  In 2013, approximately 600 volunteers delivered more than 43,000 meals to 250 people in Union County (Berkeley Heights, Mountainside, New Providence, Scotch Plains, Springfield and Summit), Essex County (Millburn and Short Hills) and Morris County (Chatham and Madison).  Each weekday, 20-30 volunteers drove a total of about 200 miles to deliver approximately 160 meals to 120 clients in the three counties.

For more information about the Meals On Wheels program, or if you know someone who could benefit from the service, please contact Marianne Kranz at 908.273.5554 or email mkranz@sageeldercare.org

For the past 60 years, SAGE Eldercare has been helping make the communities they serve an amazing place to age.  The organization provides a wide array of information, support, and services designed to help people lead the most independent and active lives possible.  From helping with errands, to exercise classes, community programs, and home health care, SAGE’s expertise helps older adults remain in their own homes.  SAGE is committed to being the leading provider of programs and services to meet the changing needs of older adults, their families, and caregivers throughout Union, Essex, Morris and Somerset Counties.  For more information, please call 908.273.5550 or visit www.sageeldercare.org.

About Meals On Wheels Association of America

The Meals On Wheels Association of America is the only national organization and network dedicated solely to ending senior hunger in America. The Association is the oldest and largest organization composed of and representing local, community-based Senior Nutrition Programs in all 50 states as well as the U.S. territories.  More than 5,000 local Meals On Wheels Programs leverage a dedicated army of two million volunteers who day-in and day-out create an efficient and caring way to keep America’s seniors stay independent, healthy and able to live in their own homes.  For more information or to locate a local Meals On Wheels program, visit mowaa.org.

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