By Vivian Shipe
KNOXVILLE, TN — Less than the cost of a premium cup of coffee, $3.40, is what it takes to feed a senior a hot meal in Knoxville through the CAC Office on Aging’s Mobile Meal Program. The program currently feeds 950 seniors over 60 and people with disabilities who live alone and cannot cook for themselves and do not have anyone to cook for them.
Susan Long, who oversees The Mobile Meals program, explained it is a valuable and lifesaving program as the majority of the seniors served have no human contact during the week except for the volunteer who brings the meal to them every day, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. While there, the volunteer is able to see how the senior is doing, help with any need they may have, and call for help should the senior be in distress.
While CAC has a program to buy meals for families who choose to use the service; many of these seniors, of whom over 60% are over the age of 75, pay nothing for their meals and none of the volunteers who deliver the food are paid for the service they do daily. The funds must come from other sources and one of the activities to ensure these meals continues the Power of the Purse fundraiser.
Held at the Rothchild’s Banquet and Event Center, the annual Power of the Purse Event, gathers new and gently used purses from women all over Knoxville during the year and in the fall, holds a silent auction and a purse sale to raise funds for the Mobile Meals program. This year the event raised over $40,776.00
Tickets for the event sold out weeks before, and over 400 attendees, were treated to delicious heavy hors d’oeurves, fine wines, and music provided by Larry Blair of the Blair Experience. Each lady received beautiful gift bags for their participation in the auction and purchasing of purses. The event was well attended by state, city and county leadership.
The beautiful purses were set up on round tables in a separate banquet room and ladies could select as many as they wanted to buy. Designer purses with familiar names of Coach, Hermes, Gucci, Louis V, and St Laurent, were set up in the main hall for bid during a silent auction and the winners were announced at the
end of the event. Purses left over were sold the following week at the CAC Office on Aging Office at an event open to the public for those unable to attend the initial fundraiser.
Director Long says CAC is very appreciative of the volunteers who deliver the hot meals five days a week to the seniors. Volunteers are always needed. Please call 865 524 2786 for more information on this program.