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Fill the Plate breakfast benefits Meals on Wheels

LEWISTON, ME – SeniorsPlus, the designated Agency on Aging for Western Maine, held its annual breakfast to benefit its Meals on Wheels nutrition program.  The 2024 Fill the Plate Breakfast had an audience of 170 attendees and was held on the morning of Friday, March 22 at the Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch in Auburn.  The breakfast honored Lewiston resident Lucy Bisson with the 2024 Ikaria Award and featured a talk by Maine humorist Gary Crocker.

 Last year, SeniorsPlus delivered more than 170,000 meals to 1,800 homebound older adults and adults with disabilities in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties through its Meals on Wheels program.  Each meal provides one third of the recommended daily allowance of nutrition, a safety check, and a visit to these vulnerable adults. The majority of the clients of Meals on Wheels are lower income or on fixed income.  

Born in Lewiston and raised in North Monmouth, Crocker offered remarks and observations about his beloved Maine and her people in the classic Maine tradition.  After teaching public speaking at Cony HS in Augusta, he joined the Waterville Police Department. Crocker then served as Adult Ed Director at CMVTI (now CMCC) in Auburn and eventually became the spokesman for the Community College System at the Maine State Legislature.

The event included the presentation of the 2024 Ikaria Award, which recognizes an individual or organization for singular and outstanding contributions toward improving the lives of older adults, to Bisson, a former SeniorsPlus volunteer and current Executive Director of the Lewiston/Auburn Senior College.  Ikaria is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea.  It is considered one of the world’s five “Blue Zones” – places where an estimated one in three members of the population regularly lives an active life into their 90s.

The Fill the Plate Breakfast is presented in conjunction with March for Meals, a national campaign of the Meals on Wheels Association of America.  

The overall program goal of SeniorsPlus is to assist older adults and adults with disabilities in our tri-county area to remain at home safely for as long as possible.  The overwhelming majority of older adults (greater than 95% in an AARP survey) wish to remain at home until they die. The Meals on Wheels program provides nourishment, socialization and regular safety checks. 

Since 1972, SeniorsPlus has been improving the lives of older adults and adults with disabilities. As the designated Area Agency on Aging for Western Maine, SeniorsPlus provides statewide services with an emphasis on Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties for core services (ie nutrition, information and assistance) that support independent living, healthy aging, and fight isolation. The mission of SeniorsPlus is to enrich the lives of older people and adults with disabilities, their families and communities, and to support them to make informed choices. SeniorsPlus envisions a future where all older adults and individuals with disabilities are engaged and respected while living quality, independent lives in the communities of their choice. Annually, SeniorsPlus serves 8,000 individuals and fields 170,000 phone inquiries. SeniorsPlus offers a network of support, including information and assistance, short-term care management, Medicare counseling, caregiver support and respite, health and wellness education, benefits counseling, and Meals on Wheels and congregate dining. Most services are free.  SeniorsPlus is grateful for the support of its many donors and volunteers.

Betsy Sawyer-Manter, President and CEO of SeniorsPlus (left) is shown with Gary Crocker (center) who was the keynote at the 2024 Fill the Plate Breakfast to benefit Meals on Wheels at SeniorsPlus, Western Maine’s designated Area Agency on Aging.  Lewiston resident Lucy Bisson (right) received the 2024 Ikaria Award for her outstanding contributions toward improving the lives of older adults. 

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