GUEST COLUMN: Gouging for Good
As I imagine it, the first Meals on Wheels began with a few people recognizing a need by some elderly people of at least one square meal a day. To that end, they likely gathered in someone's kitchen, prepared meals and delivered them to a few grateful older people. In 1954 the idea migrated to the United States and the first meals were served in Philadelphia.
In 2014 Bennington County Meals on Wheels will celebrate 20 years of providing meals to senior citizens. Far from the few meals that were likely served initially in England, the Bennington County Meals on Wheels will supply a projected 51,000 meals in 2014. I can attest to the quality of the nutritious, delicious and well-balanced meals, as I recently had the pleasure of dining in the program's cafe.
Unfortunately, the enjoyment of the meal was tempered by the news delivered by Executive Director Susan Fox that Meals on Wheels of Bennington County is in a precarious financial position.
"This year will be the first that we have unfunded needs," Susan explained and added, "There are 6,000 requests for meals that have zero funding." Ms. Fox runs an amazing program that uses donations of food from the Vermont Food Bank and local farmers. She said that the program spent $64,000 and utilized $81,000 in donated food to prepare 49,000 meals in 2013. Susan fears she may have to start a waitlist to deal with the insufficient funding.
Just as a group in England decided to make a small dent in the need for feeding the disadvantaged elderly, we invite you to help us make a small dent in the Bennington County Meals on Wheels budget shortfall. Our goal is to raise $5,000 by holding a Super Bowl Snack and Bake Sale on Saturday, Feb. 1 (snow date Sunday, Feb. 2, from 12:30 to 4 p.m.) The sale will be at the Second Congregational Church, 115 Hillside St., from noon to 4 p.m. We need people to prepare food, people to buy food, and people to get their friends to do the same. We are accepting any food items except those that could spoil in four hours.
We are calling our effort "Gouging for Good." We plan to set prices a bit on the high side. If you feel a little sticker shock, just remember this: Super Bowl tickets range from $1,500 to $7,500. People paid that to sit on hard seats, out in the elements, in New Jersey, in February. You can pay a fraction of that and sit in your warm house, in your favorite chair, with some delicious goodies to eat. So it might be a cupcake that cost you $5 and a loaf of banana bread $10, but the joy of supplying the funds so another few meals can be served to our senior citizens -- priceless!
We are holding a raffle, and silent and Chinese auctions. We decided to try it all. The raffle will be for two tickets to a Patriots' football game next season. We will sell the tickets for $20 apiece. The Chinese auction will include donated items such as a catered dinner for six, a punch card for bagels and coffee at the Crazy Russian Girls Bakery, and a ukulele from Knapp's. We are collecting items for the Chinese auction from local businesses, so if you are a local business owner with a donation we would love to hear from you.
The people of Bennington County have always been remarkably generous when a call for help has been made. We hope this will be an opportunity for some fun, good food and a touchdown at the $5,000 goal line. If you are on Facebook, like our group page, https://www.facebook.com/gougingforgood.
If you have any questions or want to let us know that you will bring food items, please call Becky at 802-447-3869 or contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Becky Amos is a resident of Bennington.
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