ALTON — Country artists Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer, along with local favorite The Harman Family Bluegrass Band, will be performing July 16 at the Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater for the Senior Services Plus seventh annual Feed the Need benefit concert for Meals on Wheels.
Meals on Wheels is a program allowing low income and at-risk senior citizens to receive 33 percent of their daily nutrition and remain living in their own homes. Before the state budget crisis, SSP staff would deliver a warm meal daily, Monday through Friday, to the individuals in need. Now, five frozen meals are being delivered once a week.
Associate Executive Director Theresa Collins has been on many delivery runs with the program and has seen the direct effects it has on people. She describes a delivery where she gave a recipient a plant donated from a church’s Easter service. The woman was overjoyed, saying, “You don’t know how much this means to have another living thing in my home with me.”
“It was like a punch in the stomach,” Collins said. “It really brought back to reality the importance of that program. It’s more than just a meal.”
Over the past nine years, the program has provided 1 million meals, feeding more than 6,000 homebound seniors in the area. In the past year, 450 meals have been delivered daily.
The cost of a general admission ticket to the concert is the equivalent to 10 days of meal donations. Ticket prices begin at $40 at metrotix.com, the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau (200 Piasa St. in Alton) or at Senior Services Plus (2603 N. Rodgers Ave. in Alton). Meet and Greet tickets are also available for each artist for $50 exclusively at Senior Services Plus or by calling (618) 465-3298.
Letter to the editor from Senior Services Plus Executive Director Jonathan Becker
On Saturday, July 16, Senior Services Plus (SSP) will hold its seventh annual fundraiser concert, Feed the Need, a benefit concert to support Meals on Wheels.
SSP’s mission is to stop senior hunger in its tracks. According to Meals on Wheels of America, more than 6 million seniors in America are facing the threat of hunger each day; that is 1 in 5 seniors in our very own community. SSP is the largest provider of “Meals on Wheels” in Southern Illinois. Over the past nine years, SSP’s Meals on Wheels program has provided more than 1 million meals feeding more than 6,000 homebound seniors. SSP’s Meals on Wheels program is only partially funded through Older American Act funds and relies on the Feed The Need concert as our main fundraiser.
The past year has been incredibly difficult for SSP, and of all of the SSP programs that have suffered the cuts to the Meals On Wheels program serving homebound seniors have been the most disgraceful. In April 2015, a waiting list for Meals On Wheels was enacted due to reductions as a result of the budget impasse. For our agency alone, this resulted in 140 seniors waiting for 12 months for meals. The waiting list was lifted in April 2016, and out of 140 seniors on the list only 64 came off and began getting meals.
Senior Services Plus is asking for your support for this year’s event. We have been incredibly fortunate to be able to present Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer and regional favorite the Harmans. The cost of a ticket to the concert is $40, which is the equivalent to 10 days of meal donations. Tickets can be purchased online at Metro Tix; at Senior Services Plus, 2603 N. Rodgers in Alton; or at the Alton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau in Alton.
Come support a program that keeps seniors aging in place. If you are unable to attend buy a ticket (or two) and give it to a neighbor or individual who can’t afford to go. We at Senior Services Plus appreciate the community’s support and the many volunteers we have that make our programs happen every day.