More than 10 million (one in six) seniors in the U.S. face the threat of hunger and more than 15 million (one in four) are living in isolation. In Chatham and surrounding counties alone, more than 1,000 seniors are being served by Meals on Wheels through local nonprofit organization Senior Citizens, Inc. (SCI). This summer, Meals on Wheels America, in partnership with the Ad Council, will launch its first-ever national campaign to recruit volunteers to serve the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. With the senior population projected to double by 2050, SCI is joining the effort to help inspire a new army of volunteers in the Coastal Empire to meet the growing need.
Every day, SCI’s volunteers deliver more than 1,000 meals along with friendly visits and safety checks to those who need them most. SCI relies on an army of more than 200 volunteers to deliver meals, typically between 11 am and 1 pm, five days a week. For many seniors, the volunteer who delivers their meal is the only person they will see that day. The delivery isn’t just about nutrition; it’s about the moments of human connection that nourish the senior and the volunteer alike. The national public service campaign, created pro bono by the ad agency Anomaly, will invite America to “Do Lunch” by volunteering during the critical lunch hour period to deliver meals and a smile to seniors. The TV, radio, print, out-ofhome and digital public service advertisements will tell the poignant stories of just a few of the 2.4 million seniors the national Meals on Wheels network serves each year; stories that celebrate their lives and show how inspiring, wise and charming they really are. To further highlight their stories, renowned celebrity photographer Mark Seliger – who has photographed some of our culture’s most famous faces from Kurt Cobain to President Obama – will be turning his lens to Meals on Wheels seniors and creating a series of portraits for the campaign.
“We’re so excited to be working with Meals on Wheels programs across the country to launch this national effort on the ground,” said Ellie Hollander, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “We hope that by sharing just a few of our seniors’ amazing and heartfelt stories, we can inspire even more volunteers to lend a caring hand to the growing number of aging neighbors in need.”
“Volunteers are the backbone of our Meals On Wheels program,” said Patti Lyons, president of Senior Citizens Inc. “But we need more folks to help. Every meal not delivered by a volunteer means money that should be used to buy food is being used to deliver the food. So, come on, Lowcountry, let’s do lunch!”
To learn more about SCI, visit www.seniorcitizensinc.org.