Meals on Wheels – March 5k & Raffle

To raise awareness and funds to reduce senior isolation and hunger, Meals on Wheels of Fairfield County (MOWFC) is participating in “March for Meals”, a month-long national campaign initiated through Meals on Wheels America.

“Locally, Meals on Wheels of Fairfield County is holding a Virtual 5k Run/1 Mile Walk to raise funds to support our work and raise awareness to the very real situation of food insecurity/hunger and isolation among Fairfield County older adults,” said Anna Tobin, executive director of MOWFC.

Funds raised during the “March for Meals” campaign in Fairfield County are used to support the Meals on Wheels program locally.

Those interested in participating in the Virtual 5k may register on the agency’s website as either an individual or a group. Event registration is $20.00, and all paid participants will receive a T-shirt after April 15.

The “March for Meals” event also includes a “300 Club Ticket Raffle”. Tickets may be purchased by calling the agency at (740) 681-5050.  The tickets cost $10 each, with the winner receiving a $1,000 payout.

“Our agency provides meals, in-home support services, and other important and necessary services to ensure health, connection, and independence to over 2,500 Fairfield County older adults residents each year,” Tobin said. “The funds support our work.”

Additionally, since 2005, MOWFC has partnered with Olde Village Diner, located at 46 East Columbus Street, to provide meals to seniors in the area who drive but need assistance connecting with a nutritious meal.

Volunteers from Kemba Financial packing meal sacks.

During COVID restrictions, the diner provides carryout for the program participants. Once regular service resumes, Meals on Wheels patrons will return to dine-in meals from a special menu on weekdays from 10 am to 1 pm.

“We are following Governor Dewine’s guidelines and vaccine rollout to determine the best and safest time to get back to dine-in services,” said Lalit Punwani, owner of the Olde Village Diner. “Just like the rest of the public, we are anxious to get back to normal as soon as possible.”

The diner provides an opportunity to socialize along with the meal.

“Most of our Meals on Wheels customers are regulars at the diner, coming in from one to five days every week,” Punwani said. “Over time, I have gotten to know a lot of them and unfortunately have also lost a few of them over the past few years.”

Meals on Wheels provides supportive services to many residents of Violet Township, such as personal emergency response systems, minor home repairs, in-home health care, caregiver support programs, utility assistance, and many more.

“We work closely with Violet Township medics to meet the needs of vulnerable seniors in the area,” Tobin said. “They make frequent referrals to our agency for services.  The agency accepts self-referrals, referrals from doctors, family, friends, churches, as well as from hospitals, nursing homes and rehab facilities upon discharge.”

Eligible older adults are those age 60 and older and living in Fairfield County.  Each program has qualifiers for service. 

“There is no income eligibility for services, but instead, we look at the needs presented,” Tobin said. “Mobility, cognitive state and ability to perform activities of daily living are assessed.”

To register someone for Meals on Wheels in Fairfield County, the telephone number is 740-681-5050, or there is a registration form on the program’s website.

Mayor Gray and Meals on Wheels staff making a delivery during March for Meals week a few years ago.

The county has participated in the “March for Meals” campaign for the past eight years.  This year’s goal is to raise $20,000.

We invite sponsors and participants to sign up and pay online on our secure website.

Information is available on the agency’s website at www.mowfc.org, or interested persons may call 740-681-5050.

While “March for Meals” is the largest fundraiser of the year, the agency also receives funds from a local senior services levy, from the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging, grants and donations.  Past fundraisers have included a Mother’s Day Steak Dinner, Pancake Breakfast and a “Brown Bag it For Hunger” event.

“Our agency relies on the community to continue to serve the increasing number of older adults in our county,” Tobin said.  “Volunteers are always needed.  ‘March for Meals’ raises awareness to this need and offers the opportunity to engage with this great organization in caring for thousands of vulnerable older adults.”

The senior population is one of the fastest growing segments of America’s population.  As the baby boomer population continues to join the ranks of senior citizens, the need for services from providers like Meals on Wheels continues to grow.

“Approximately 21% of our county’s population are 60 and older,” Tobin said. “It’s nice to know Meals on Wheels of Fairfield County is here to serve at a time when we are needed most.”

Volunteer making a safe delivery. All images and photo captions provided by Fairfield County Meals on Wheels.

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