5K run/walk to benefit OPC’s Meals on Wheels

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published May 24, 2017

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ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Community members of all ages can hit the trails this June to help provide meals to homebound seniors.

The Older Persons’ Commission will host its 11th annual 5K Run or Walk for Meals June 3.

The race and walk, which are open to people of all ages, begin at 8 a.m. at the OPC, 650 Letica Drive. The course starts at the OPC in the upper parking lot, goes down Letica, turns left on the Clinton River Trail almost to Dequindre, and then loops back and finishes at the OPC.

“The 5K course is flat, and it only has one hill, making it a perfect course for an athlete,” said Matthew Spierling, head of health and wellness at the OPC.

The event is chip-timed, with awards for different age groups. Spierling said the race typically draws over 500 people.

“We are looking for 20 percent growth this year,” he added. “It’s a great community event to keep your family healthy and active while supporting a good cause.”

The proceeds from the race go toward the OPC’s Meals on Wheels program, which provides meals to homebound seniors in nine communities — Auburn Hills, Brandon Township, Independence Township, Lake Orion, Oxford, Addison Township, Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township — seven days a week.

“(The program) is for seniors that are not able to shop or prepare their own meals, so without the program many of the seniors would be prematurely placed in assisted living or nursing homes,” said OPC Executive Director Renee Cortright. “It really helps them to be able to live independently in their homes for as long as possible with that nutritious meal … and it also provides a friendly face from the volunteer delivering the meal and a wellness check for the senior.”

In 2016, Cortright said, the OPC nutrition department prepared, served and delivered nearly 118,000 meals — approximately 94,000 home-delivered meals and nearly 24,000 meals for dining in social nutrition programs at the OPC and other local senior centers. And Cortright said the demand for the service continues to grow.

“Our service area has, and will experience, a 34 percent increase in the 60-plus population from 2010 to 2020, and that is only going to increase with the aging population,” said Cortright.

To be eligible for the Meals on Wheels program, clients must be 60 or older, unable to grocery shop and/or prepare nutritious meals, and unable to attend a dining-in/congregate site due to physical or emotional disabilities. The program is not based on income, and Cortright said there are short-term options available if a senior is recuperating or rehabilitating from a hospital stay.

Every $5 earned provides a meal for a homebound senior, Cortright said.

“We really rely on those donations to supplement the cost of the program,” she said.

Those who register for the event before May 29 will pay $15 for ages 12 and younger and $20 for all others. Those who register on race day, between 7 and 7:50 a.m., will pay $30. To register for the race, visit www.eastsideracingcompany.com.

For more information, contact Matt Spierling at matthewspierling@opcseniorcenter.org or at (248) 659-1021.

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