Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hunger in America

Hunger in America has recently been spotlighted in media. While this tends to be the season that hunger is identified and promoted as a social concern, it is dramatically highlighted with data that looked at Georgia and the 10-County ARC region.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Georgia is ranked 13th in the nation when it comes to poverty levels, and 12.6% of Georgia’s senior population is living in poverty – that’s ranked 7th in the nation. Data from research on this project confirms that in Fulton County alone, 67% of seniors, age 65 and over are considered low-income, very low-income, or extremely low-income.

We often hear stories from clients who have to choose between spending their little amounts of income, some as low as $400 a month, on medication, utilities, insurance, or food. Oftentimes it is food that is cut out of their spending plan. With chronic diseases so many seniors have, eliminating food/nourishment is not the best plan of action.

Senior Citizen Services’ Meals On Wheels Atlanta program works to identify people and begin serving them with nutritious meals. The Urgent Meal program, a sub-program of Meals On Wheels Atlanta, strives to begin services to clients in dire need within 24 hours or less.

Meals On Wheels Atlanta has the capacity to serve more seniors in need but as always, we lack funding to support all who are in need. This causes us to have to rank in order of priority those who are in desperate need and those who can wait. Currently, we are serving 278 seniors – you can help us serve more.

During this holiday season, I ask that you consider giving a charitable monetary gift to SCS’ Meals On Wheels Atlanta program, or increase your annual gift. For a mere $150, one senior will receive meals for a month – join the ‘Fund a Month of Meals’ program. Contact us to learn more.

By Patrick O'Kane
Director of Operations

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Medicare Part D

Open enrollment for Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drugs, runs through December 31st. Here are some questions to consider as seniors make their plan selections:
Have my health care needs changed?
What is the total cost of the plan, including premiums, deductibles, and co-pays?
Is prescription by-mail an option?
Can you go to any pharmacy?
Are all your medications covered?

Additional information can be found at www.Medicare.gov or by calling 1-800-633-4227.

Plan ahead!

By Brad Catherman
Vice President of Gift Planning

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

United We Stand!

It is that time of year for many of us to listen to United Way representations as they make their annual appeal to organizations large and small across the country. The United Way has been a mainstay for decades, distributing local monies to charities of all sizes and missions. Senior Citizen Services is one such United Way agency, and our audited 2007-2008 annual report notes that we received $192,268 from this source, or 9.1% of our total funding. In fact, SCS was born out of the United Way in 1965. Did you know that you may direct a portion, or all, of your United Way contribution to Senior Citizen Services? Please ask your United Way representative, or your human resources department, for facts and forms to do this. Thank you for your consideration!

By Brad Catherman,
Vice President of Gift Planning

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Meal to Remember Raises Big Bucks

Last Friday, more than 300 guests gathered at the St. Regis Atlanta for the 22nd annual “A Meal to Remember.” The gala raised money for Meals On Wheels Atlanta and this year it raised more than $360,000.

A lot of time and effort goes into planning an event of this magnitude. Hopefully, by the time the guests arrive, everything runs smoothly and everyone has an enjoyable evening and doesn’t know about the “behind the scenes” problems that might occur.

Garnering the liquor license from the City of Atlanta is a feat unto itself. Dealing with last minute printing changes for the program can drive a person crazy. Discovering at 5:00 pm that every table is missing one place card is a problem. Ensuring that every auction item makes it to the hotel and gets placed with its appropriate sign and bid sheet takes an army of volunteers. Dealing with Atlanta traffic on a Friday evening makes guests, volunteers, and auctioneers run late. A flu epidemic forced some volunteers to stay home. A guest chef was “missing” the day before the event. Realizing on Friday afternoon that the sculptures for the guest chefs were never picked up and sending a staff member on a mad dash across town.

As you can see, a lot happens behind the scenes to ensure that our guests enjoy a fabulous gourmet meal paired with outstanding wines in a beautiful ballroom on a Friday night in November – all to make sure that seniors do not go hungry.

-- by Steve Hargrove, Director of Events and Marketing