The Christmas feast served at all Barton County Senior Centers Thursday kicked off the 2019 ElderCare Inc. meal-sponsorship program, with four local businesses leading the way.
The businesses are Hiss Sherman Wealth Management, MPIRE Companies, Marmie’s Auto and Brentwood Builders.
“We can’t tell you how much we appreciate these community leaders,” said Brandi Gruber,” ElderCare executive director. “They helped us lay the groundwork for seeking other sponsors that will provide nutritious meals for our senior citizens.
“The seniors who attended our special event were very surprised and thankful for the sponsored meals,” Gruber added. “All of us at ElderCare are excited for 2019 and adding sponsors to the program.”
Matt Hiss, investment advisor representative at Hiss Sherman, said “this is our way of giving back to the generation before us. They paved the way and built the community we are fortunate enough to live in today.
“It is easy to remember to donate to charities centered around children, which is obviously important. But oftentimes we forget to give generously to organizations that care for the older generation. For goodness sake, they aren’t called the ‘greatest generation’ for no reason.”
Jason Mayers, chief executive officer of MPIRE Companies, couldn’t agree more. “Our seniors are an important and too often overlooked part of our community. We are extremely happy to assist with a program that allows them to live more independently.
“All of us at MPIRE are proud to contribute in some small way to the hard work ElderCare performs each day to meet seniors’ needs. Christmas is truly the season of giving and it is important to give back to our community.”
Mayers also noted ElderCare needs financial donations and volunteers year-round. “Any amount of money and/or time greatly helps these much-needed programs.”
Tina Mingenback, ElderCare dietary services manager, said the meal-sponsorship program is open to any business or individual at ElderCare’s 39 Senior Centers in its 28-county territory. These counties are located from central Kansas to the Colorado and Oklahoma borders. About 20 percent of the meals served each month are in Barton County.
The kickoff focused on Senior Centers in Great Bend, Hoisington and Ellinwood.
“Donors have the satisfaction of providing healthy meals, while helping us offset ever-increasing food costs,” Mingenback said. “They can help ensure our programs will continue.”
Income from federal and state grants for Friendship Meals has decreased during the last decade, she noted. “Meal sponsorships can help bridge this financial gap. If we don’t have donations and/or funding increases, our programs cannot survive.”
Sometimes, Mingenback noted, seniors need a helping hand but “pride gets in the way. They are not going to reach out and ask for help. This is a way they can get the help they need without asking for it.”
Most Friendship Meals are served in Senior Centers but they also are delivered by Meals on Wheels. Sponsors have choices about how they can help. It could be with a check for any amount, or sponsorships for one day, once a month or quarterly.
“Sponsors could do this just one time or make it a regular part of their charitable giving,” Mingenback commented. “This would be a wonderful gesture during the Christmas season or part of a New Year’s resolution.”
She also emphasized that all contributions remain in local communities and donors may specify where they want their money to go.
In addition, business sponsors can raise awareness about their products and services by joining Senior Center patrons at mealtime. They are welcome to provide a quick overview of their businesses; hand out business cards and brochures; and post a banner at the Senior Center.
For more information, contact ElderCare by calling 620-792-5942.