OCCF Grants Support Nutrition, Healthy Living Among Seniors

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation has awarded $214,000 in grants to support programs helping central Oklahoma senior citizens living independently this winter.

A pair of young hands reaches down to offer a caring touch to a pair of elderly hands.

Community Foundation donors have long since focused their charitable giving on serving the elderly population in central Oklahoma, and the Foundation has helped strengthen donor giving by establishing grant programs to financially support local churches, nonprofit service agencies and civic organizations that help seniors stay in their own homes.

With the vulnerability of the senior population continuing to increase in 2020, the Community Foundation feels it is now more important than ever to step up and help.

“This year has been challenging for most of us, but it has been particularly difficult for homebound seniors, who rely on services that provide access to health care, nutrition, recreation and interaction with others,” said Nancy B. Anthony, Oklahoma City Community Foundation president. “We are grateful for our donors, who give the resources to support essential care for the most vulnerable among us.”

Earlier this year, the Community Foundation’s 2020 Disaster Relief Fund awarded $80,000 in grants to organizations serving senior citizens. Grants include:

  • $20,000 to help the Metropolitan Better Living Center deliver food and other at-home services to the homes of elderly clients.
  • $35,000 to help Sunbeam Family Services work with senior citizens, especially those experiencing homelessness.
  • $25,000 to help Skyline Urban Ministry provide food and community support for seniors through a daily nutrition program.

The Community Foundation also provided $72,500 in special interest grants to support organizational services that are crucial for seniors to remain living in their own homes. The iFund Services for the Elderly grants include:

  • $15,000 to help Daily Living Centers provide transportation to seniors at the Jeltz Senior Center, a low-income senior housing complex.
  • $15,000 to help Oklahoma City Ballet offer its Golden Swans program, providing senior ballet and dance classes to help with balance, flexibility, and cognitive function.
  • $15,000 to help Rebuilding Together OKC purchase materials for building handicap access ramps.
  • $2,500 to help RIVERSPORT Foundation support a dragon boat league for seniors, providing physical exercise, socialization and rewarding experiences.
  • $20,000 to help The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Command purchase furniture and other household items for low-income seniors who live independently.
  • $5,000 to support Villages OKC provide its Porch Pals program, which delivers plants and flowers to seniors as well as conversation and interaction at a safe distance.

Through the Meals on Wheels Oklahoma City program, the Community Foundation granted $51,900 to 41 area churches and organizations that prepare and deliver warm meals to seniors who are unable to leave their homes without assistance or prepare meals due to health limitations. In addition, Meals on Wheels of Norman and Edmond Mobile Meals each received $5,000 grants to support the elderly.

“Senior hunger has unfortunately been a major issue in Oklahoma County for years. The pandemic has made it even worse,” said Chris Lambert, director of Meals on Wheels Oklahoma City. “Since March, we’ve added nearly 700 seniors to Meals on Wheels, and our meal deliveries have doubled to more than 16,000 meals each month. The generosity shown by the Community Foundation helps us bring hope to so many who are cut off from their friends, their family, and neighbors.”