If you live in an apartment in Roanoke, VA this is the season to help out the seniors in our community. February 1 is the start of Soup for Seniors season. This is an annual, all-volunteer, charitable effort that collects and distributes tens of thousands of shelf-stable food to approximately 3,000 low-income elderly residents who otherwise might go hungry.
Last year, the collection effort ran Feb. 3-8, and sorting, bagging and deliveries of the food began immediately. Almost all of it was delivered to recipients by Feb 11. On Feb. 12 of last year was the beginning of a historic, three-day snowstorm that was one of the worst ever in the Roanoke Valley.
As a result, Meals on Wheels, which delivers daily prepared food to 600 housebound seniors, couldn’t get the meals out for five days.
But for Soup for Seniors, those people might not have had anything to eat at all. The deliveries also benefited hundreds of other senior recipients who live independently and still drive, but couldn’t get out in the storm’s aftermath.
The goal for this year is 42,000 cans of soup and other foodstuffs, which is roughly what was collected last year. That will be enough for 3,000 bags of groceries for the area’s neediest seniors.
Last year each recipient received 10 cans of soup in a reusable mesh sack, along with crackers and servings of other food such as tuna, applesauce and oatmeal. That proved enough to spell them for five snowy days.
One key to Soup for Seniors’ success has been the assurance that every bit of each donation, whether it’s food or money, goes to help needy seniors who might otherwise have to choose between feeding themselves or paying bills for medicine or heat.
More than 100 people are required to collect, sort and deliver the food. They are still seeking at least 50 volunteers. If you’d like to volunteer, you can call 345-0451.
Of the people who donate the food, many donate individually. But a growing number of donations are coming from teams of workers at area employers, who compete with each other to gather the most.
Valley Bank branch locations are serving as the drop-off points for donations. Valley Bank has nine branches for drop-off. Additionally, the chief collection and distribution center is Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, at 4909 North Lake Drive. Collection days this year takes place from Feb. 2 through 7.
More information on roanoke.com