VINTON–From February 4 through February 9, the LOA and AARP Virginia are again collaborating in their annual “Soup for Seniors” campaign. Organizations will be collecting cans of soup, crackers, and other non-perishable food items for delivery to the elderly.
“Winter is a difficult time for our older homebound neighbors and the choice between food and heat can be hard,” said Aimee Lawson, Director of Public Relations for the LOA Area Agency on Aging in Roanoke. “A bowl of hot soup on a cold day can go a long way in making sure no senior goes hungry.”
The goal for this year’s Soup drive is for 42,000 cans of soup to be delivered to more than 3,500 local residents. In addition to soup, LOA and AARP suggest the donation of canned meats such as tuna, canned vegetables, peanut butter, oatmeal, and canned fruit. (No glass containers.)
AARP will again be assisting the LOA by sending postcards to local AARP members to publicize the Soup for Seniors drive and by providing the distinctive reusable red cloth bags for delivering the food items.
“Soup is a meal that is easily prepared even by those incapacitated to some extent, and helps to keep seniors at home and independent as long as possible,” said Lorraine Bratton of Vinton, Community Outreach Coordinator for AARP in the 5th Planning District.
The Soup for Seniors project began in October 2006 as a “Make a Difference Day” Project for LOA’s Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Programs. The response from the community was overwhelming.
In 2011, LOA joined forces with AARP and moved the program to the winter months when seniors are most vulnerable to the weather. The soup collected goes first to homebound Meals on Wheels recipients, then to Congregate Meals participants. The goal also includes providing filled soup bags to residents of low-income independent senior housing, as well as seniors who receive assistance from area Departments of Social Services.
Churches, civic groups, and businesses are invited to participate in the Soup for Seniors Drive collectively as a service project.
“All donations are welcome,” said Lawson. “The more we collect, the more we can serve.”
Soup and other food items can be dropped off at New Covenant Christian Church located at 4807 Cove Road in Roanoke (the main collection site) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., at the LOA Central Office at 706 Campbell Avenue in Roanoke, at the Vistar Eye Center at 426 West Main Street in Salem, and at all Bank of America locations in the Roanoke area and Daleville during normal operating hours (including the Vinton Bank of America at 201South Pollard Street).
Aside from food items, the LOA also needs volunteers to help unload and sort the food items at New Covenant Church, to deliver bags of soup to Meals on Wheels and other distribution sites, and to pick up soup at drop-off locations.
For more information, call 540-345-0451 or visit www.loaa.org/event/soup-for-seniors-2012.
Monetary donations to the Soup for Seniors Drive can be made by mailing a check to Soup for Seniors, LOA Area Agency on Aging, PO Box 14205, Roanoke, VA 24038.
“All this cannot be done without the support of a generous community,” said Lawson. “Please help a senior have a hot meal when it’s cold outside.”