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NAMOW holds fourth annual Spring Gala

Cicero Police Chief Joseph Snell samples some of the wine available at the North Area Meals on Wheels annual Spring Gala Friday night at the Doubletree Hotel in East Syracuse.

Cicero Police Chief Joseph Snell samples some of the wine available at the North Area Meals on Wheels annual Spring Gala Friday night at the Doubletree Hotel in East Syracuse. Photo by Sarah Hall.

— Supporters of the North Area Meals on Wheels turned out in their finest for the organization’s fourth annual Spring Gala, held Friday, May 4 at the Doubletree Hotel in East Syracuse. The fundraiser included wine tasting, silent auction and numerous raffles. Guest speaker Yvonne Conte spoke about the value of humor in everyday life, while music was provided by Todd Hobin and his band.

“It’s wonderful. We have a really good turnout,” said Donna Barrett, executive director of NAMOW. “I can’t believe the generosity of all these people. Everyone’s very positive about tonight, and they know why they’re here.”

Among the community members and local dignitaries in attendance was Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle, who has spent much of her first term in the House of Representatives advocating for seniors.

“Meals on Wheels is such a great organization,” Buerkle said. “It provides our seniors with so many services. Ostensibly, it’s food. But that communication with another person, that contact, someone checking on them, someone giving them a scheduled portion of their day, and they give relief to family members. Family members know that Meals on Wheels is going to be there, so they give that comfort level. So there are so many benefits from the Meals on Wheels program, and it’s so important that we recognize that.”

Buerkle said NAMOW’s mission to end hunger by 2020 is an admirable one.

“Could there be a more noble mission in the United States of America? There’s no reason that anyone should be hungry in this country,” she said. “It really is a question of using our resources and using them wisely to make sure that monies get to the people who really need the services, who need the food and the programs. It’s just a great goal.”

In addition to raising money for the local Meals on Wheels chapter, the evening also honored longtime NAMOW volunteer Jim Baker. Baker started with the organization more than 25 years ago. He has served on the board of directors, as well as numerous NAMOW committees, and headed up numerous fundraisers.

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