|By Chris Maza|
HAMPDEN On July 7, Council on Aging Director Rebecca Moriarty was honored at the Massachusetts Council on Aging (MCOA) annual membership meeting with the Advocate of the Year award for her part in forming the MCOA Charity Campaign.
Moriarty, along with Wilmington Elderly Services Director Terri Marciello, formulated the concept two years ago and has seen success in the program early on.
"One of our main goals is to prove that we're still a population that can give back and still wants to give back," Moriarty said. "It was an effort of MCOA to promote that senior centers and older adults across the state can give back to the community just like young children can do when they do fundraisers."
While Marciello and Moriarty were formulating their plan on how to execute such a campaign, the initiative's first mission became obvious.
"While we were in the planning stages, the [June 1, 2011] tornado hit this area and it was very clear that our first charity campaign would be for money to be raised for tornado relief," Moriarty said. "We targeted it for towns that wanted to apply for funds for the replanting of trees in their town or they could also use it for post-traumatic stress counseling for any older adults in the community who might need that."
The campaign raised $7,500, which Moriarty said "was great for our first attempt."
"It was very rewarding to go out to Brimfield and the other towns that were extremely impacted and present them with a check," she said. "It wasn't a lot of money, but it plants a few new trees and shows that MCOA and senior centers are very supportive of the communities we live and assist in."
This year's cause is much broader in scope and will benefit the Alzheimer's Association.
"Now with our new campaign, that is something that every senior center across the state sees and people see in their daily lives, whether it affects your family, your neighbors or people you see at the senior center," Moriarty said.
Moriarty explained that the campaign has put out the call to all senior centers across the state to form walking groups to take part in Walk to End Alzheimer's events that are taking place statewide.
"All of our fundraising efforts will be tracked under the MCOA umbrella and we've pledged to raise $15,000 for the Alzheimer's Association," she said.
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