March for Meals Champions who Celebrate our Volunteers

IMG_0880We’ve talked a lot during March for Meals about our Meals on Wheels clients and our community champions. But the life source of Meals on Wheels is our amazing volunteers. We have a team of about 195 volunteers in Clarke and Barrow County who selflessly take time out of their day to deliver not only a meal but so much more.

On the last day of March for Meals, we’d like to highlight three community champions that join together every December and give ACCA a generous donation to make sure our volunteers know how much they are appreciated. Without them, we would not be able to do this ourselves.

Seven years ago the Reifsteck family also got involved with the ACCA Meals on Wheels program. “My grandmother delivered Meals on Wheels for more than 30 years in Fredericksburg, Texas. I’d sometimes go with her on her route, and it’s true that the volunteers benefit from the experience as well as the clients,” said Joyce Reifsteck. Wanting to do something to honor her grandmother and show appreciation to the local volunteers, Joyce and her family started making holiday goody bags for the volunteers.

Although nothing is expected, the volunteers love this special gesture of appreciation for their volunteer service.

Mike Price, President of McLane Southeast, makes sure that the goody bags include hot cocoa and candy every year. “Seven years ago we were approached with the opportunity to participate in this project, and we’re glad to be able to continue the tradition. McLane is proud to be associated with the Meals on Wheels Volunteers and everything they do for the community,” said Price.

When Ann Richardson heard about the effort recently, she knew immediately that she wanted to get involved. She approached her husband Matt about supplying boxes of chocolate truffles for the volunteer gifts. Matt Richardson is the owner of Manor Holdings, a construction and development firm in Athens. “This area has been so good to us,” said Matt, “and we are so happy to get involved in something that helps our community, especially a program like Meals on Wheels that serves so many people.”

Meals on Wheels serves about 200 people on 24 routes in Clarke and Barrow County.  We are able to serve these people because of our wonderful volunteers.  Our volunteers offer a warm smile and a few minutes of social interaction to someone who may otherwise not see anyone all day.

If you are interested in volunteering with Meals on Wheels, please contact Susan Jacobs at 706-549-4850.

If you would like to help sponsor the Meals on Wheels Volunteer Gifts, contact Joyce Reifsteck at 706-310-0206.

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Get Comfortable and March for Meals

During March ACCA had a fantastic time partnering with Creature Comforts during the Get Comfortable campaign. We used it as prime opportunity to spread awareness about March for Meals to support our Meals on Wheels program.MOW-MFM-logo-CMYK_CMYK

We would like to say thank you to everyone in the community that came out and supported us. We had lots of folks interested in learning more about how they could volunteer, and we recruited several runners for our 5K! Not only that, we were floored by the awesome canvases painted by patrons. Our Meals on Wheels clients have loved receiving them!

The partnership between March for Meals and Get Comfortable has been a perfect match, one that we couldn’t be more thrilled about.

Check out some of the photos from our fun Wednesday nights!

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March for Meals 5K Highlight

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This past Saturday, March 26, ACCA held the 6th annual March for Meals 5K. The race began and ended at Creature Comforts Brewing Co. in Athens. All proceeds from the race will go to support Meals on Wheels.

IMG_1389A special congratulations goes to first-place winner, Brad Turner. He is the coordinator for The Campus Kitchen at UGA, and he is a huge champion for Meals on Wheels. Way to go, Brad!

We are so proud of all we have accomplished during March for Meals this year. The 5K is a perfect way to salute all the hard work our volunteers, champions and employees put in every day. We are so thankful for a community that shows up to take a stand.

Check out our album on Facebook to see the highlights from the race!

We also want to give a special shoutout to all our sponsors. These great people and businesses helped make our 5K a special event.

  • Creature Comforts
  • B&D Fabricators
  • AgSouth
  • Athens First
  • Amici
  • The Doroshenko Family
  • Fatz
  • Flagpole
  • Golden Gourmet
  • Merrill Lynch – The Frierson Group
  • Online Athens / Athens Banner-Herald
  • Safelite AutoGlass
  • Sweaney and Sweaney
  • Tires Plus
  • Wesley Woods
  • Smoothie King
  • Einstein Bros Bagels
  • Blue Bell Poterry Studio
  • 1000 Faces Coffee
  • opa robby’s market
  • Trader Joe’s

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March for Meals Champions Week

March for Meals is a month-long national celebration of Meals on Wheels. Each year, the Athens Community Council on Aging (ACCA) joins together with Meals on Wheels America to draw attention to the important services provided by Meals on Wheels.

During March for Meals, March 21 – 25 is designated as Champions Week. Business leaders, legislators, and community partners will join ACCA during the week to ride-along with longstanding Meals on Wheels volunteers to deliver meals to clients and see the effects of the service in our community.  “Each of our community champions has the ability to raise awareness of the growing number of local older adults facing senior hunger and isolation,” said Eve Anthony, Interim CEO of ACCA.  “Through daily meal delivery and the companionship of our friendly volunteers, our Meals on Wheels program has a significant impact on the lives of these older adults.”

These ride-alongs will give our champions the opportunity to learn more and speak out about the effort to fill the gap between the seniors served and those in need. That gap is widening due to increased demand with a rapidly aging population combined with declining public and private resources, and rising food, transportation and operational costs. There are currently more than 60 seniors waiting for Meals on Wheels in the communities we serve. Now more than ever our story needs to be told. Meals on Wheels is an integral service for our community.

“I remember the joy my grandma experienced every day as her meal was delivered,” said community champion, Matthew Purkey, President of the United Way of Northeast Georgia. “I am humbled for the opportunity to be the one not only delivering a meal, but companionship and hopefully a smile. It is an honor to be associated with such an amazing organization that provides essential programming to those in our community.”

The focus of March for Meals is volunteer recruitment. Volunteers are the life source of the Meals on Wheels program. However, donations always make providing this valuable service much easier. Anyone interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities or donating to Meals on Wheels should contact ACCA at 706-549-4850 or visit www.accaging.org. To learn more about March for Meals, visit www.marchformeals.com.

Special thanks to all our community champions this month:

  • Congressman Jody Hice
  • Daniella Perry, Senator Johnny Isakson Staff
  • Representative Chuck Williams
  • Mayor Nancy Denson, Athens-Clarke
  • Mayor Dodd Ferrell, Winterville
  • Mayor David Maynard, Winder
  • Commissioner Kelly Girtz
  • Commissioner Sharyn Dickerson
  • Sheriff Jud Smith, Barrow County
  • Sheriff Ira Edwards, Athens-Clarke
  • Corporal Erika Murphy, ACC Sheriff Office
  • Captain Hayden Hodges, ACC Sheriff Office
  • Sgt. Dallas Pope, ACC Sheriff Office
  • Chaplain Toy Wilkins, ACC Sheriff Office
  • Chief Jimps Cole, ACC Sheriff Office
  • Dr. Shelly Nuss, Dean AU/UGA Medical Partnership
  • Matthew Purkey, NEGA United Way President
  • Alexia Ridley, WUGA Radio Personality
  • Robert Miles, UGA Athletics
  • Chris Herron, CEO Creature Comforts
  • Seth Herman, Business Development Director Creature Comforts
  • Ken Manring, White Tiger Gourmet
  • Melinda Edwards, White Tiger Gourmet
  • Athens Roller Girls
  • Jan Kozak, CEO 1000 Faces Coffee and Manager, Farmer’s Market
  • Lindsay Lucas, Marketing Director Phil Hughes
  • Bill Douglas, President/CEO,  Athens First Bank

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Don’t Miss the March for Meals 5K!

MarchforMeals-SignupThe time has come! Sign up for the March for Meals 5K!

Make your steps count this year! Let’s fill the plates of the people in our community who need us. Join the March for Meals race to raise awareness and funds for hungry seniors in the Athens Area.

REGISTER FOR THE RACE

New this year: The race will begin and end at Creature Comforts Brewing Co. at 271 W. Hancock Ave, Athens, GA 30601.

Can’t make it to the race? Join the Virtual Race!

Your steps can still count. Register for our virtual race and receive your race t-shirt and bib. You can walk/run your March for Meals race anytime between March 1st and 26th. Don’t forget to post the pictures of your finish line using #MarchforMeals and #MFMAthens.

Why March for Meals?

Many people don’t know that 1 in 5 older adults in our community are at risk of hunger. our goal is to bring awareness and work to end Senior Hunger by 2020. Proceeds from March for Meals support ACCA’s Meals on Wheels program in serving over 1500 meals each week in both Clarke and Barrow Counties.

Volunteer!

If the 5K doesn’t sound like your speed, consider volunteering! We need volunteers to help with several different aspect to help the race go off without a hitch. Sign up today!

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