By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA — When Senior Projects of Ravena found itself in need of a new vehicle, the organization put out the call, and the community responded. In a big way.
With Holcim leading the way, the group that aids local seniors with meals, services and friendly visits was able to purchase not one but two new vehicles. And that’s in addition to the vehicle that was already purchased with the help of $30,000 in funding from the Albany County Legislature.
Senior Projects held a luncheon last Wednesday for all the donors who made the purchase of two of the new vehicles possible.
“We are having a thank you event for all of the businesses and individuals who donated for our new vehicles in collaboration with Holcim,” Senior Projects Assistant Director Lakken Kovacik said. “Holcim agreed to match up to $20,000 — if we were able to raise $20,000 from the community, they were going to match that $20,000, and we actually exceeded that.”
In addition to matching up to $20,000, Greg McDade, who works in Special Projects at Holcim, also helped pull together donations from fellow corporate donors in the area. Those donations, in addition to contributions from local individuals, exceeded the $20,000 goal, raising a total of $24,000.
“They called me and said they had problems with a vehicle and wanted to know if we could donate money,” McDade said. “So, I went to my manager and said the senior citizens need a vehicle — theirs is in bad shape and they need a new one. He came up with the concept of getting community involvement and said we would raise the money and match $20,000. We contacted businesses in the area, friends and neighbors, and we raised $24,000, and then Holcim matched it with $20,000.”
In addition to corporate donors, a small cadre of local residents also contributed to the cause.
“We had a few seniors and other community members who donated, as well as other local businesses, even some businesses from outside the community,” Kovacik said. “Everyone just came together.”
With the $24,000 from the community and Holcim’s matching $20,000, Senior Projects was able to buy two new Ford EcoSports. One was purchased in February with the community donations after one of the senior center’s vehicles died, and the other is on order, using the $20,000 donated by Holcim.
“It’s a small SUV but it’s perfect for delivering Meals on Wheels,” Kovacik said of the EcoSport. “The community really came together and we were able to get not one car but two.”
Senior Projects has six vehicles in its fleet, including a 10-passenger van that will be traded in to make the purchase of one of the EcoSports possible.
All told, 30 individuals and businesses donated to the cause, enabling the purchase of two vehicles rather than the one that was originally planned.
“Small or large donations — they all got us to our goal,” Kovacik said.
Senior Projects board member Darlene Mergendahl thanked the community and local businesses for their support.
“These vehicles will make it easier for us to get to each house that we need to get to in order to deliver the meals,” Mergendahl said. “Also to doctors’ appointments, grocery shopping, and home visits for people who need someone to check on them — we are just starting that. These vehicles will be used for so many different opportunities to help our community and our seniors.”
Senior Projects delivers tens of thousands of meals a year to seniors in the local area and throughout southern Albany County, Kovacik said.
Holcim Ravena Plant Manager Dave MacLauchlin said the company was happy to help with the initiative.
“This was important for us to undertake because we are a big part of the community and we wanted to be involved with Senior Projects and Meals on Wheels,” MacLauchlin said. “It is an awesome organization and offers a fantastic service to the community, so we wanted to help out in any way that we could.”
In addition to Holcim, donors included Knights of Columbus, Tech Solution, Ravena Soccer Team, Collins & Sons, Inc., Francisco Equipment, GMcDade Enterprise LLC, Adirondack Mechanical Service, Carver Industrial, Ravena Shop ‘N’ Save, McHugh Group, Ltd., Gross Electric, IPS, Persico Oil, Tracey Welding and CTI, LLC.
Individual donors included Melissa Mosso, Marian Shields, Pat Boehm, Micky Traver, Denise Wilsey, Mary Delude, Harry and Kerry Connal, Larry Neri, Morgan Huffman, Greg McDade, Preston Lightsey, Brian and Sharon Phillips, Marty and Mary Van Wie, and Barbara and John Vadnais.