ECHO Meals on Wheels, of Camillus, was recently awarded the Walmart Foundation-MOWAA Building the Future Impact Grant.
"We are absolutely thrilled to be awarded [this grant]," said ECHO board President Lori Gulgert. "For a very long time we have needed to replace equipment and modernize the work space in the kitchen. We are so grateful to the Walmart Foundation for offering grants such as this one to Meals On Wheels organizations across the United States and Canada."
Last year, ECHO Meals on Wheels' 192 volunteers delivered 40,000 meals to 250 residents of Geddes, Camillus, Lakeland, Fairmount, Warners, Solvay, Onondaga, Marcellus, Elbridge and Westvale. ECHO relies on donations from residents, businesses and community organizations.
"Because we are a small not-for-profit, funds to make these changes naturally are limited," Gulgert said. "With this grant, we have the opportunity to improve, grow and move into the 21st century."
Gulgert said ECHO will replace its refrigerator and freezer, both of which are more than 20 years old, purchase a commercial food processor and replace a failing commercial can opener. ECHO will also purchase two stainless steel shelves to open up space at its workstations.
"With all the new equipment we will be able to re-design the small work space we have in our kitchen to give us a better, safer work flow," Gulgert said. "The new appliances will give us the added space we need to serve more people in need of our services. The energy efficient appliances will not only work more efficiently but also save in energy costs."
But first, ECHO volunteers must raise $1,000 in matching funds to meet the terms of the $8,748.70 grant.
ECHO will host a garden tour fundraiser from 1 to 4 p.m. June 12 at Sycamore Hill Gardens, owned by the Hanford family and located at 2130 Old Seneca Turnpike, Marcellus.
The gardens cover more than 25 acres and feature 500 varieties of trees, 200 varieties of flowering shrubs and perennials, ceremonial bells, sculptures, ponds and an evergreen maze. Attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch.
Tickets are $5 in advance, $10 at the door and free for children 12 and under. Advance sale tickets can be purchased at Silver Spring Farm Market on West Seneca Turnpike, at Baltimore Woods, Marcellus, or by calling Lori Gulgert at 487-8464.