SAGE Eldercare celebrated 50 years of Meals on Wheels at a festive event at Canoe Brook Country Club on November 30. With more than 200 in attendance, the celebration raised awareness of the organization and contributions for the SAGE Annual Fund, which will help the organization provide resources for older adults to remain independent and safe at home as they age.
SAGE Executive Director Angela Sullivan shared with the audience that SAGE’s Meals on Wheel is one of the first programs in the country; it is the longest, continuously running Meals on Wheels program in New Jersey, and had the longest-running Meals on Wheels volunteer in the country, Joan Hoffmann. She highlighted the other comprehensive programs that SAGE offers for older adults and caregivers that promotes independence and quality of life, and thanked those who support SAGE. “SAGE would not exist today if it weren’t for the pioneers who understood the need of older adults and their caregivers, and it could not continue without the support of our partners in the community.”
The evening included cocktails and a dinner, as well as a few words by Kathleen DiChiara, one of the evening’s honorees. DiChiara is the founder and former President and CEO of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. She spoke about the friendship that comes along with the food deliveries, “which is sometimes what seniors look forward to more than the food,” she said. “I feel so honored and privileged to live in a community that has a program like SAGE.”
Another honoree was Hoffmann, the longest-serving Meals on Wheels volunteer in the nation, who served with SAGE for 47 years and who passed away in April 2016. Her daughter, Christine Zunin, gave a snapshot of the life of her mother. “She was always going out of her way to do nice things for others and she looked forward to her Meals on Wheels deliveries each week. So many lives were enriched because of her,” Zunin said.
Board of Trustee President Kitty Hartman thanked the cities and the Union County board of Chosen Freeholders that issued proclamations on behalf of the 50th Anniversary of Meals on Wheels at SAGE. Meals on Wheels Director Marianne Kranz noted the importance of Meals on Wheels volunteers. “We could not do this without our volunteers, you are our eyes and ears,” she said.
Summit Police Chief Robert Weck was an entertaining emcee for the event. Also in attendance were City of Summit Mayor Nora Radest and Glenn Mortimer, from Congressman Leonard Lance’s office, who presented SAGE with a flag flown over the New Jersey Capitol. New Jersey Senator Tom Kean, Jr., and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz said a few words of congratulations. “You are an extraordinary group of people,” Kean said. Munoz added, “Loneliness is a terrible disease and you all prevent that disease.”
Kranz explained that SAGE Eldercare’s Meals on Wheels is part of Meals on Wheels America and Subaru of America is a big supporter of the organization. She encouraged audience members to purchase a Subaru during the Share the Love event (now through January 3) and choose Meals on Wheels as their charity of choice; Subaru donates $250 for each new purchase or lease during the Share the Love event. “Over the last few years, our little organization has gotten about $20,000 for Meals on Wheels, thanks to Subaru and their Share the Love event,” she said.
Brian Cavallucci, Subaru of America’s National Advertising Manager, spoke about Subaru’s support of Meals on Wheels and the importance of “being more than a car company.” He congratulated SAGE on “50 years of doing great things in this community.”
The event included two videos, produced by volunteers Viraj Sethi and Tim Donahue, which showed the impact of Meals on Wheels; both will be available on the SAGE website. Judy Henehan spoke about her experience as a Meals on Wheels recipient while she battled cancer. “I call you my SAGE Meals on Wheels Rescue Squad,” she said. “Fifty years is amazing; I wish you continual growth so that my Rescue Squad can extend to others.”
The evening also included a silent auction of about 50 items donated by area organizations and individuals, a live auction, and centerpieces provided by The Junior League of Summit, in which the fruit was then donated to community partners. Splurge Bakery of Millburn provided cupcakes for the evening’s finale.
SAGE serves about 44,000 meals to nearly 250 clients annually in 10 communities, all of which have issued proclamations to celebrate the Meals on Wheels 50th anniversary. Sponsors of the event included many individuals and businesses such as Celgene, Dun & Bradstreet, the Merck Foundation, Overlook Medical Center, PNC Wealth Management, St. Teresa of Avila Church, TD Bank, and Waters, McPherson, McNeill, P.C. Corporate partners included Meals on Wheels America, the Merck Foundation, Subaru, and Walmart. Community partners included Bridges Outreach, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Linden Meals on Wheels, Loaves & Fishes of St. Teresa of Avila Church, and Summit Helping Its People (SHIP). A listing of the sponsors was provided in an e-journal at the event and will be available on the SAGE website.
About SAGE Eldercare
Since 1954, SAGE Eldercare has been helping make the communities it serves amazing places to age. The organization provides a wide array of information, support, and services designed to help individuals lead the most independent and active lives possible. From helping with errands, to exercise classes, community programs, care planning, and home health care, SAGE’s expertise helps older adults remain independent in their own homes. SAGE is committed to being the leading provider of programs and services to meet the changing needs of older adults, their families, and caregivers throughout Union, Essex, Morris, and Somerset Counties. For more information, please call 908.273.5550 or visit www.sageeldercare.org.
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Photos: SAGE Eldercare celebrated its Meals on Wheels 50th anniversary on November 30 at Canoe Brook Country Club. With more than 200 in attendance, the celebration raised awareness of the organization and contributions for the SAGE Annual Fund, which will help the organization provide resources for older adults to remain independent and safe at home as they age. SAGE serves about 44,000 meals to nearly 250 clients annually in 10 communities. For more information about SAGE, please call 908.273.5550 or visit www.sageeldercare.org.
- Founder and former President and CEO of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey Kathleen DiChiara, one of the evening’s honorees, spoke about the friendship that comes along with the food deliveries.
- SAGE Eldercare Executive Director Angela Sullivan and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz
- Senator Tom Kean, Jr., and a group of SAGE Eldercare supporters
- Summit Police Chief Robert Weck, the evening’s emcee, entertained the more than 200 attendees.
- Glenn Mortimer, from Congressman Leonard Lance’s office, presented SAGE Eldercare Board of Trustee President Kitty Hartman with a proclamation congratulating SAGE on 50 years of Meals on Wheels and a flag flown over the New Jersey Capitol.
- (Left to right): Former Summit Mayor Jordan Glatt, Summit Mayor Nora Radest, and Brett Haire, President of Other Fellow First Foundation, were among the SAGE supporters in attendance.
- (Left to right): Brett Haire, President of Other Fellow First Foundation, Former Summit Mayor Jordan Glatt, Retired Summit Fire Chief and Summit Business Administrator Chris Cotter, and Summit Police Chief Weck.
- SAGE Eldercare Trustee Michael Foncannon (left) is pictured with a group from PNC Wealth Management.