Upshur County Senior Center Executive Director Traci Thompson, third from left, invited community members to celebrate the national anniversary of the founding of Meals on Wheels. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Senior Center marks Meals on Wheels anniversary, honors late commissioner for his dedication, service

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Senior Center celebrated the national anniversary of Meals on Wheels Tuesday.

Tracie Thompson, executive director of the Upshur County Senior Center, invited the Buckhannon-Upshur community to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of Meals on Wheels and raise awareness about the program, which was established in the U.S. in 1954.

“We are trying to expand our Meals on Wheels route so that we can get seniors off the waiting list and really reach out to all the seniors in Upshur County,” Thompson said. “We’ve been able to purchase a new food truck and expand our route; we have one in Hodgesville right now, and we’re already in the City of Buckhannon, so now we’re trying to get in all the rural areas.”

The Senior Center purchased a new truck for Meals on Wheels in October, allowing them to extend their routes.

“We wanted to have the celebration to raise awareness, with rising food costs and the rising gas costs,” Thompson said. “There’s 15 million seniors in this country that are in need of [the program], and that is going to double by 2050. Our goal here at Upshur County Senior Center is to reach out to every single senior in need.”

Both local, state and national government representatives have consistently supported Meals on Wheels programs. Sen. Joe Manchin is with the Appropriations Committee and recently assisted in passing a bill that made it possible to apply for funding for another Meals on Wheels truck, and Thompson said Gov. Jim Justice has reached out to all senior centers in the state to help provide funding.

Members of the senior center board and its employees also honored late Upshur County Commissioner Terry Cutright for all the work he did for the center.

Upshur County Senior Center officials and volunteers on Tuesday paid tribute to the dedication of late Upshur County Commissioner Terry Cutright to the center and Meals on Wheels program.

“Terry was on our board for over 10 years, and we presented a plaque today in honor of his support; he was a large driver in this, and he would have loved to have been here today,” Thompson said. “He really wanted to expand our routes, and he worked hard until he passed away, so we had to honor him for all the great things he did throughout Upshur County, not only for seniors, but everybody. He was such a good person and a good community supporter.”

Thompson said there are about 5,000 seniors in Upshur County, and the center has only been able to reach about 10 percent of them, so she hopes to expand all their services.

More information about Meals on Wheels and other meal services at the center can be found here.

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