WEST ALEXANDRIA — Patrolling Paws for a Cause raised $7,765.50 on Saturday, Feb. 8, to benefit local senior citizens who are struggling for meals and care.
This number surpassed organizers’ original goal of $5,000.
Southwest Regional K9 Training Group (SWRK9TG), Eagle Fence, and Lawn Plus banded together to raise money and awareness for Preble County Council on Aging (PCCOA) Meals on Wheels program after learning of the waiting list.
“We found out there was an issue where we had 30-plus seniors going out without food. Preble County Council on Aging was kind to us when we were first starting our group years ago,” Matt Lunsford, President of SWRK9TG, explained. “[SWRK9TG, Eagle Fence, and Lawn Plus] decided to do something about it and raise money for the cause.
“The Senior Center does a fantastic job and they were great to us when we didn’t have anything. For us, it was a no-brainer to help out. We wanted to pay them back.”
Lawn Plus owner Rodney Creech added, “I sit on the Senior Center Board and I spend a lot of time there. Seeing these seniors in need, I have a big heart for them. Not only is this great for fundraising, but I feel like it will also bring awareness for what is going on in our community.”
According to Lunsford, the goal for the event was $5,000, which they easily surpassed. They intend to host this fundraiser every year moving forward and hope to increase the funds raised as well.
Patrolling Paws for a Cause raised money for the Senior Center in a number of ways. Tickets were sold for a spaghetti dinner, there was a dessert and gift basket auction, and a 50/50 raffle was held. These funds were counted at the end of the night and PCCOA was presented with a check in the amount of $7,765.50.
The event also saw a total attendance of over 350 individuals.
For PCCOA Executive Director Shelley Ratliff it is important to be “pro-active” in offering services and programs to the senior citizen population, as statistics show those numbers growing in the future.
“One- in-four people in Preble County right now are 60 or older. By 2030, that number is going to be one in three. The number of senior citizens is going to keep rising. We have to start paying attention to the senior population now, because we need to be pro-active,” she said.
“Last year, we delivered 32,531 meals [through the Meals on Wheels program] and that was a 68 percent increase from 2017. I think it is important to note, with the increase in seniors, we have a waiting list. The waiting list is going to continue being there.
“It would be great if we could eliminate the waiting list, but with the number of seniors that are continuing to grow exponentially, there is no way we are ever going to be able to eliminate that list 100 percent. That is why nights like tonight are so important to PCCOA.”
Ratliff added, Preble County Council on Aging is thankful to the three organizations who came together to support the Senior Center with this massive fundraiser and to all who participated in the dinner and auctions.
“It is an unlikely group — who would ever think a K-9 training group, lawn care business, and fence company would naturally come together, but they like what we do, they love the community, and they wanted to give back,” she said.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH