Bay Ridge Center is advocating for seniors once again with its March for Meals.
Bay Ridge Center is hosting its 23rd annual March for Meals fundraiser on Saturday, March 24, raising awareness and funds for its home delivered meals program in Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Gravesend. There will be a kickoff ceremony at 10:30 a.m., followed by a three-mile march that will begin and end at Bay Ridge Center, 411 Ovington Avenue.
Bay Ridge Center feeds over 650 seniors a day, seven days a week, explained Todd Fliedner, the center’s deputy executive director. This number is up from five years ago, when only 400 residents received meals each day.
“Home delivered meals are important on so many different levels,” said Fliedner. He said that oftentimes the Meals on Wheels service is the only contact with the outside world these residents will receive. Drivers will check in to ensure that their clients are safe and healthy, with some drivers even coming to the rescue of their clients in some instances, according to Fliedner.
Formerly known as the “Marching for more than a Meal” Walkathon, the event saw a name change to fit into Meals on Wheels’ March for Meals fundraising push, a national fundraising effort. To coincide with this, the event was moved from its traditional date in fall to a date in March.
Fliedner also highlighted the march’s ability to generate interest in the program, explaining that it draws in residents who may have otherwise not have known about the program.
“Every year after people see the march, we get calls the next week,” he said, adding later that awareness about the program is one of the biggest things he hopes residents will take out of the walk.
Bay Ridge Center is taking a different approach to fundraising this year, starting an online fundraising campaign to try and collect its goal of $10,000. Fliedner said the online campaign has been a good way to involve more tech savvy youth in the fundraising effort.
Bay Ridge Center has been serving the poor and the elderly in southwest Brooklyn since it first opened in 1976. Currently, it has over 1,000 active members.
View the fundraising campaign at https://www.classy.org/campaign/march-for-meals/c162441.