Ladies Benevolent Society awards more than $34,000 in grants - May 7 2013

Friend to Friend program at Oshkosh Seniors Center among recipients

OSHKOSH, WI - A new program at the Oshkosh Seniors Center that aims to decrease the loneliness and isolation felt by many people in the community was one of 12 that got a boost thanks to grants from the Ladies Benevolent Society: Advocates for Older Adults.

The Friend to Friend program at the Oshkosh Seniors Center will pair participants with like interests for activities at the center and in the community, as well as reach out to seniors who have stopped coming to the center for various reasons, such as a change in their health, access to transportation or income.

"Through conversations with participants, many staff members found seniors were still interested in staying active but didn't necessarily have a spouse or friend to go with them anymore," says Julie Kiefer, of the Oshkosh Seniors Center. "The goal of this program is to help foster friendships among people with like interests and help them stay connected so they do not become isolated."

The seniors center program was one of 17 requests for funding totaling more than $62,000. Twelve of these requests were awarded a total of $34,490 in grants from the Ladies Benevolent Society last month. Founded in 1863 as the Ladies Aid Society, the organization just celebrated its 150th anniversary with a luncheon featuring Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

Friend to Friend will start in July with activities to initiate the meeting and friend-making process. Surveys will be distributed to match people with the same interests.

After participants are matched and introduced, they will decide what they want to do. Some activities may include going to the movies, going out to dinner or talking on the phone.

Some people are not comfortable initiating a conversation or seeking out new friends, and Kiefer says the seniors center will remove this barrier showing that you are never too old to make new friends.

The following programs focused on improving the lives of older adults received grants from the Ladies Benevolent Society:

ADVOCAP: $4,100
For new equipment to deliver meals to the home-bound as part of the Winnebago County Nutrition program.

Clarity Care: $3,500
For the Help at Home program, which provides supportive care for older adults in their homes.

Evergreen Foundation: $2,000
For a scholarship fund to provide training for Evergreen employees.

Friends of the Oshkosh Seniors Center: $2,500
For the Friend to Friend program to build relationships between isolated seniors.

Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh, Inc.: $5,000
To purchase a vehicle with greater wheelchair capacity for transportation services.

Lutheran Social Services: $2,500
Support for seniors attending the Adult Day Center & Mindworks program.

Mercy Health Foundation: $1,000
To provide opportunities for disabled adults to participate in the Fitness for Physically Challenged program.

Oshkosh Area Humane Society: $2,000
Support for Pets for Seniors, which assists with pet adoption fees and medical expenses.

Oshkosh Family: $2,000
Support for the delivery of meals to the homebound through the Meals on Wheels program.

Oshkosh Public Library: $2,500
Support for Outreach Home Delivery to deliver library materials to people who are unable to travel to the library.

Park View Health Center: $5,890
To purchase a wide-back hydraulic chair for residents receiving care from health professionals.

Winnebago County Literacy Council: $1,500
To provide training for literacy tutors as part of the Collaborative Community Learning program.

Support for the Ladies Benevolent Society grants comes from the Ladies Benevolent Society: Advocates for Older Adults Fund, a field of interest fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. LBS:AOA grants focus on improving the health and well-being of older adults in the Oshkosh area.

For more information, contact Director of Programs Amy Putzer at 920-426-3993 or by email.

The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization created by and for the people of Winnebago County, Waushara County, Green Lake County and Ripon. Through charitable giving, the Community Foundation strives to make our communities thrive. For more information, please call 920-426-3993.


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