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Blessings Bags

Community comes together to help seniors in need

The Mid-Ohio Valley came together to help Comfort Keepers of the Mid-Ohio Valley collect 4,697 pounds of food through the Feed Seniors Now food drive for local seniors. The Feed Seniors Now food drive is a national initiative of Comfort Keepers and runs From October 1 to December 31. The local Comfort Keepers franchise has sponsored the food drive since 2008.

This year, due to COVID-19, the members of the local Comfort Keepers team needed to think outside the box on how to increase access to food among the area’s seniors. They decided, in addition to the iconic red barrels at partner locations, they would offer the option to ship food directly to the office and accept monetary donations.

“We asked the community to make food donations to help local seniors, and they came through with open arms,” said David Yeomans, CEO of Comfort Keepers. “It’s clear that the people of the Mid-Ohio Valley care deeply about the issue of senior hunger and are committed to helping our seniors live the best quality of life.”

Monetary donations were received by individuals in the community as well WV National Insurance (Brick Insurance), Circle of Grace of the International Order of the King’s Daughters & Sons-Parkersburg and Digital Mixology to total $1,190.

Donations totaling 133 pounds were drop shipped to the Comfort Keeper’s office and an anonymous donation of 359 pounds was delivered directly to a distribution partner, Faithlink, which is part of Community Resources Inc in Parkersburg.

Collection site partners also performed well. With the red “Feed Seniors Now” barrel prominently displayed, hundreds of pounds were collected with St. Marys Elementary School, leading the drive with 567 pounds collected. Parkersburg News and Sentinel came in second with 333 pounds. Brick Insurance (313 pounds.), First Mutual Bank- Belpre (242 pounds) and Mrs. Dailey’s class at Parkersburg Catholic High School (276 pounds) rounded out the top 5.

Belpre Dental Studios (147 pounds)

North Parkersburg Baptist Church (132 pounds)

Frontier Shopping Center Dollar General (119 pounds)

Parkersburg YMCA (123 pounds)

First Presbyterian Church-Parkersburg (99 pounds)

Professional Radiator & Tire (83 pounds)

First Mutual Bank- Parkersburg (81 pounds)

Marietta College’s Student Engagement Class (55 pounds)

Grand Central Church of Christ (11 pounds)

Distribution methods were also adapted to overcome current challenges. In Wood County, Faithlink added foods collected to the monthly food boxes delivered to seniors and stocked the food pantry at Market Manor senior high-rise apartments. In Washington County, blessing bags full of milk, juice, soup, vegetables, fruit, a protein and more were delivered to 33 recipients of Franciscan Meals and 157 recipients of Meals on Wheels.

“There are many factors that affect senior nutritional needs. It is not just about a lack of money. Getting to a store when you no longer drive or in bad weather are serious impediments also,” said Yeomans. “The donations collected will help seniors in our community and we hope that we were also able to raise awareness about how malnutrition significantly impacts quality of life.”

At least one in nine seniors is at risk of going hungry due to the inability to obtain food for their household, or from having to choose between food and medical care, according to Feeding America.

Changes in our bodies as we age, and changing dietary needs, can make healthy eating more difficult for older adults.

The health risks associated with malnutrition can be especially concerning for seniors. Symptoms can include:

¯ Weakened immune system

¯ Poor wound healing

¯Muscle weakness

¯Weight loss

¯Dental issues

In response to a growing need for awareness about senior nutrition, Comfort Keepers offices across the U.S. participated in the nationwide Feed Seniors Now campaign. This drive aims to help seniors preserve their independence by providing diet and nutrition information, encouragement and necessities.

For more information on the local Feed Seniors Now food drive, please contact your local Comfort Keepers office at 740-373-7125.

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