To say the 8th Heels for Meals & More fundraising event was amazing would be an understatement. It was an absolute blast and definitely knocked our socks and shoes off! On Saturday, April 22, over 260 guests joined AgeWell Services of West Michigan to raise critical funds to support adults 60 and older in Muskegon, Oceana and Ottawa counties. Throughout the fundraising event, guests were able to enjoy great food, a one-of-a-kind signature drink by Wonderland Distilling Co., live music by Steffan CopenHaver, lead singer of the band Brena, auctions (live and silent), Best Shoe Contest and hand painted signature drink glasses. Check out pictures of the event.
One of our most impactful auctions of the evening was our Greatest Needs auction. During this auction, guests were able to help us fund –
- 6 riders 1 full year of round-trip rides to life-saving dialysis appointments.
- SPECIAL NOTE! We had a very special match for this greatest need. An anonymous donor matched 3 riders, so we were able to fund 6 riders with 1 full year of round-trip rides to life-saving dialysis appointments. WOW!
- Why was this a greatest need? Dialysis patients go to dialysis, a life-saving procedure, 2 – 3 times per week. One of our riders who goes to dialysis shared that without the Senior Transportation Program, she would spend $300 per week on transportation. That’s $15,600 for one year of rides. For $3,900, we we’re able to provide 3 rides per week for 1 full year.
- Cell service for 7 Mobile Meals tablets.
- Why was this a greatest need? Demand for the Meals on Wheels program has skyrocketed! Between Oct 1, 2022 – Mar 31, 2023, we’ve provided 146,825 meals for 1,510 participants. This is 15% more meals for 9% more participants compared to last year! Mobile Meals replaces paper route sheets is more secure, allows us to track progress of drivers and helps us respond more quickly if a participant doesn’t answer their door. One year of cell service is $220.
- Provide food for a homebound older adult for 4 months.
- Why was this a greatest need? Meals on Wheels is more than just a meal. Every meal provides increased food security, healthier food and decreases feelings of social isolation. We have 9% more participants this year compared to last year. Because of the demand, we have a waitlist for the Meals on Wheels program. For $900, we’re able to provide healthy food for one homebound older adult for 4 months.
- Provide over 1,000 emergency meals.
- Why was this a greatest need? Talk about the bad weather in February this year! In the case of unplanned closures, such as bad weather, all Meals on Wheels participants receive shelf-stable emergency meals twice per year. With all the weather-related closures in February, we provided a third round of emergency meals in March. Each meal costs $3.
- Help install a new firewall.
- Why was this a greatest need? Security of all the data we collect is critical. As AgeWell Services grows, our firewall security needs to grow with us, too!
- One-year membership to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners for our SafeSeniors Task Force Detectives in Muskegon and Ottawa counties.
- Why was this a greatest need? 1 in 10 older adults are victims of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. 1 in 44 cases of financial exploitation are reported to authorities. Our SafeSeniors Hero Award truly shows the scary depth scammers go to exploit money. Our Detectives are Certified Fraud Examiners and are trained professionals with unique set of diverse skills in preventing, detecting and investigating fraud.
- 2 standing whiteboards for our Lunch & Activity Centers.
- Why was this a greatest need? We have over 600 active Lunch & Activity Center participants. A standing whiteboard would help keep our participants updated on upcoming activities, what the menu is, special days and more!
- 1 ping pong table.
- Why was this a greatest need? Did you know we have a robust Ping Pong league?! Twice per week, 5 older adults meet to play ping pong and socialize. Unfortunately, the ping pong table we have right now is broken.
- 10 exercise balls for Wellness classes.
- Why was this a greatest need? Over 406 older adults have participated in fitness classes at Tanglewood Park since Oct 1, 2022. Our exercise balls are used on an almost daily basis and get a lot of use! Exercise balls are higher quality for gym use than standard stability balls.
- $50 per month for 1 year to honor AgeWell Services’ 50th Anniversary.
- Why was this a greatest need? Guests helped us honor 50 years of providing critical programming for older adults in Muskegon, Oceana and Ottawa counties by committing to $50 per month for 1 full year.
Thank you, to each and every one of our community members, who supported the event from sponsorships, to donating an auction item, to attending and to following along as we planned the event. With your support, we raised $89,000 – a record breaking year as we experience sky-rocketed demand. Thank you for your commitment in caring for older adults in our communities.