Senior Center gets creative to cover rising food costs with fundraiser

by Trish Rudder

Senior Life Services of Morgan County is seeking donations for a “25 Days of Christmas” fundraiser to support its nutrition program.

Raffle tickets are being sold to support the program that provides free weekday lunches to the Morgan County seniors who attend, as well as home-delivered meals and “grab and go boxes” for those who cannot come to the facility.

The seniors also have access to free Food Lion Bakery items that the store donates daily for the seniors to take home.

Michelle Gomez, community relations liaison who is coordinating the event, said food prices are very high and the government grant money the Senior Center receives does not cover the cost to provide nutritious meals to the seniors.

“We are a non-for-profit organization,” Gomez said.

“Some may be eating the only nutritious meal for the day,” she said.

Tammy Kees, executive director, said the average cost for a meal is $10 and the grant money received covers about $7 a meal.

“We receive no county funds,” Kees said.

The free weekday lunches are served in the Berkeley Springs and Paw Paw senior center facilities and on Wednesdays a free lunch is available for seniors at the Greenwood Community Center.

Kees said the “25 Days of Christmas” fundraiser idea came from other W est Virginia counties such as Gilmer and Preston that were very successful. Randolph County does a “Christmas in July” fundraiser.

The raffle ticket drawings that begin on December 1 will be held between 11 to 11:30 a.m. with a live drawing on its social media site, so people can see what the winning ticket is in real time.

The Saturday and Sunday drawings will be performed on the Friday before each weekend.

So far donations have come from companies in Berkeley Springs and Martinsburg, Gomez said. One such donation is wooden cutting board from Gat Creek.

Grand Furniture in Martinsburg donated money, “so we might do a “cash day,” she said.

Some of the other contributors so far are Café Del Sol, Applebee’s, King’s

Pizza in Hedgesville, Charlotte’s Café, Southern Belle, Tony’s Butcher Block, Mountain Laurel Gallery, the Ice House Gallery, The Morgan Messenger and the Country Traditions Emporium, Gomez said last week.

Donations will be received until December 1, she said.

When talking to the seniors who attend the center for lunch, they all reminisce about the past and are eager to pass on memories.

“We also provide nutrition for the soul,” Kees said.

For more information and to donate, contact Gomez at 304-258-3096, ext. 1021 or