Soup for Seniors began in October of 2006 as a Make a Difference Day Project for LOA’s Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Programs. That first year we had very modest goals of serving those within the program as well as the Meals on Wheels recipients. The community fully embraced the project. So much soup and crackers was donated that the LOA was able to service all of its clients, other needy seniors in the community as well as others in neighboring communities. In 2011, with new restrictions of the founding programs, the LOA took the project on as an agency-wide service and joined forces with AARP Virginia. Collection and distribution was moved to late January/early February in order to serve the senior population in the most vulnerable part of winter.
This year’s goal is to collect 50,000 cans of soup to be delivered to 3,500 seniors right here in our community. The project committee has set priority areas and at the top of that list are our homebound Meals on Wheels clients. For many of the 600 recipients, the hot lunch meal they receive is the only meal they have all day. The soup collected helps provide a hot meal on a cold day and also reminds them, in the bleakest part of winter, that the community has not forgotten them. Due to recent budget cuts, the LOA had to cut bag meals for snow days and holidays from its budget. This makes the bag of soup and crackers all that more important to our Meals on Wheels recipients. Other recipients include Congregate Meals participants who look to LOA for a hot lunch meal along with socialization; seniors who rely on LOA for transportation to the doctor or grocery store; and seniors who receive LOA’s intense case management services as well as homemaker and personal care services. Our goal also includes providing the filled soup bags to the over 1,500 residents of low-income, independent senior housing as well as seniors who receive assistance from area Departments of Social Services and Goodwill Industries. Other eligible seniors can call our Intake Case Manager to be placed on a list to be notified when the bags can be picked up. If you know someone in need, call 540-345-0451.
You can make a difference in your community by teaming up with your church, place of business or any organization of which you are a part and doing a collection in January. Then, February 6-10 deliver that collection of soup, crackers and other non-perishable food items to a drop off location close to you. The items most needed by our elderly neighbors include low sodium and nutritious soups, crackers, canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned meats such as tuna, peanut butter, Carnation Instant Breakfast and oatmeal. No glass containers, please. All the items collected will be put into reusable cloth bags provided by AARP and distributed into the homes of our elderly neighbors. If you are a part of a civic group, church group or if you want to collect as a service project with your business, we will welcome any and all donations. The more we collect, the more we can serve.
We are also in need of volunteers. Volunteers play a vital role in this project and it cannot be done without their help. Volunteers are needed in varying capacities. They include:
The drive will take place February 6-10, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. The main drop off site is The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, 4909 North Lake Dr, Roanoke (just off Peter’s Creek Road). Other sites include:
If you would like to spearhead a campaign with your church, organization or place of business, we’ve included additional materials that may help with your collection strategy. You will find a sample, editable newsletter to include in any communications with your group. We have also included a “What’s needed” flyer that can be placed in newsletters, attached to emails and displayed on bulletin boards. Finally, we have this information which can be saved to help you answer any questions and to help you to remain in contact with us.
LOA Main Office – Pam McAdams – 540-345-0451 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alleghany Highlands – Patrice Coles – 540-962-0465 or email email@example.com
If you would like to make a monetary contribution, you may send it to Soup for Seniors, Local Office on Aging, PO Box 14205, Roanoke, VA 24038. Funds collected will be used to meet the goal of serving 3,500 seniors or used to further end senior hunger by providing Meals on Wheels to homebound seniors.