By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA — Senior Projects of Ravena held a ceremony last Thursday to officially thank Holcim and other corporate donors who helped raise the funds to purchase two new vehicles for the facility’s Meals on Wheels program.
The senior center provides on-site lunches and dinners, but also delivers meals to homebound residents in Ravena, Coeymans and neighboring communities, including several congregate sites that serve multiple seniors.
When two of Senior Projects’ vehicles were rapidly deteriorating, they approached Holcim for some help. Greg McDade, working in Special Projects for Holcim, took the mantle and ran with it.
“It was last summer that Greg came to me and said he had an idea for a donation, and he pitched the idea to donate a vehicle to Senior Projects’ Meals on Wheels program,” said Holcim Plant Manager Dave MacLauchlin. “I thought about it and told Greg we could match up to $20,000 — that was the idea. Find $20,000 in donations and we would match it.”
So, McDade began calling around to other companies, large and small, to see who would be willing to chip in to purchase a vehicle for the senior center.
“I think he did it in a weekend,” MacLauchlin said. “It’s great that this is a different avenue for us — it’s giving back to the community, but giving back to a segment of the community that really, truly appreciates the donation, and it’s a great program that we are donating to, a service that is going to benefit a lot of people.”
Senior Projects of Ravena’s assistant director, Lakken Kovacik, said she was at first hesitant of being able to raise $20,000 in donations — and ended up with $4,000 more than they needed to meet Holcim’s $20,000 match. The money was enough to buy two vehicles.
“Greg absolutely blew me away with his dedication and diligence in collecting as many donations as he could to help us out,” Kovacik said. “Honestly, we couldn’t have done it without him. With the money we raised and the match from Holcim, we were able to purchase not one but two brand new vehicles.”
The two vehicles are used to deliver hot meals to homebound seniors across southern Albany County, Kovacik said, and sometimes are used for more services to help area seniors.
“They are sometimes used to bring seniors to doctors’ appointments, and we even pick up some seniors for dinner and bring them to our Ravena site for a few hours of socializing and sharing a meal with friends,” she added.
In addition to the monetary match from Holcim, the company also donated 60 cases of bottled water and 200 reusable bags that are being handed out to seniors.
“Holcim has become one of our biggest supporters and cheerleaders,” Kovacik said. “And we couldn’t be more excited.”
McDade said he was happy to be able to help out the senior center with the matching funds and is looking forward to working with the facility on future purchases, including a generator that would power the senior center and the neighboring rescue squad building in the event of a power outage.
Morgan Huffman, from Gross Electric, said it was gratifying to donate to a worthy cause and a shared goal.
“This is a beautiful thing to be a part of a community like this,” Huffman said. “I am excited to be a part of this and on behalf of Gross Electric, and me and my family, I feel blessed to be able to donate and be a part of this community.”
In addition to the two vehicles purchased with Holcim’s matching and other donations, Senior Projects was also able to buy a third vehicle this year with a grant secured by the Albany County Department for Aging with the support of Albany County Legislator Zachary Collins, R-Coeymans.