5K to benefit Meals on Wheels program in Surry and Yadkin

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — When volunteers heard that the Meals on Wheels program in Surry and Yadkin counties could take some funding cuts, they decided to do something to make sure no seniors go without food.

Brenda Holbrook, senior enrichment director for Yadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc., said a volunteer driver, Curtis Wall, decided to help organize a 5K walk and run.

“This is the first time we’ve really had to look outside the box for funding,” Holbrook said.

Holbrook said her Meals on Wheels program has already received cuts due to the federal budget sequester and has heard it may get another funding cut in October.

“We’re trying to do something to get ahead of the game,” she said.

The YVEDDI 5K Walk and Run for Meals on Wheels has been set for 9 a.m. Oct. 26. The 5K will begin at Yadkinville Senior Center, located at 207 E. Hemlock St., Yadkinville.

“It’s not for just runners,” said Cathy Hennings, an organizer of the event. “It’s for anyone, and of all ages.”

Those who register by Oct. 10 will get a T-shirt. The early registration price is $15 for students up to age 14, and $25 for ages 15 and up. On Oct. 11, the adult price goes up to $30. People can register online at www.sportoften.com or obtain a form from the Senior Enrichment Program page at www.yveddi.com.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the local Meals on Wheels program, which is handled in Surry and Yadkin counties by YVEDDI. The event’s slogan is “So no senior goes hungry.”

Hennings, who lives in East Bend, said she was approached by Wall about helping organize the 5K since she had recently helped plan one for an elementary school. Hennings said she was happy to help.

Kathy Chaffin, Yadkin program specialist for YVEDDI, said it is encouraging to see volunteers care enough to start an effort like this.

The volunteer drivers who deliver the food see the Meals on Wheels recipients each day, Chaffin said, so they know how much the program means to them. For some residents, the volunteer may be the only person they see all day.

“The home-delivered meals program not only provides our residents with a warm, nutritious lunch, but it is a factor in some of them being able to continue living in their homes versus having to be placed in low-care nursing homes,” Holbrook said.

To participate in the program, a resident has to be 60 or more years old and confined to the home due to illness or injury. The lunchtime meals are delivered five days a week by volunteers.

Pauline Garner has been receiving the service for a few months. She enjoys the meals and said the volunteers who deliver them are very nice people.

“I look forward to them every day,” she said.

Holbrook said the number of participants fluctuates, but as of last week there were 125 participants in Yadkin County and 132 in Surry County.

She said it is projected that between 2010 and 2030, Yadkin County’s 60-plus age group will increase 33 percent – from 8,716 to 11,600.

It costs about $1,500 a year to provide meals for one person, Holbrook said, with each meal costing the agency about $6.50.

The Meals on Wheels program is funded through federal and state dollars and private donations. Holbrook said at this time, YVEDDI is not cutting local recipients, but she is afraid that could change by the end of the fiscal year if they see cuts and do not raise money. The 5K is the first fundraising effort.

For more information about how to become a participant, volunteer or sponsor for the 5K, call Cathy Hennings at 336-978-5567 or visit www.sportoften.com orwww.yveddi.com.

Donations and registration forms can also be mailed to YVEDDI Meals on Wheels 5K, P.O. Box 261, East Bend, NC 27018.

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