Community

Fundraising campaign to support area senior programs

Mary Eckard and Richard Bading, both of Cedar Rapids, dance past the Buffalo Creek Band during the weekly dance sponsored by Aging Services in the Oaks Room at the Lowe Park Arts and Environment Center in Marion on Monday, July 3, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Mary Eckard and Richard Bading, both of Cedar Rapids, dance past the Buffalo Creek Band during the weekly dance sponsored by Aging Services in the Oaks Room at the Lowe Park Arts and Environment Center in Marion on Monday, July 3, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — To help maintain Linn County senior programs and social activities, Aging Services again this year will be taking part in 65-hour fundraiser Give65 — with even loftier goals.

The online fundraising campaign starts at 7 a.m. today and runs through midnight Thursday.

Similar to last year, funds raised will help maintain Witwer Healthy Aging programming provided across the county.

“All the money raised this year is going to Aging Services. It’s going to help provide funding for the current Witwer program,” said Karen Huber, franchise owner of the Cedar Rapids Home Instead Foundation. “We’ve got to have something to fund the programs right now.”

Give65 — now in its third year — is an online crowd-fundraising platform created by Home Instead Senior Care Foundation to raise money for not-for-profits that service seniors.

Aging Services, which is part of the regional not-for-profit AbbeHealth, aims to raise $20,000 in the roughly three-day fundraiser.

That’s double the organization’s goal last year, when about $23,000 was raised through donations, matching funds and awards, Huber said.

Witwer program funding comes from Linn County and United Way of East Central Iowa, as well donations from the community.

Huber said a big boost to funds last year came in the form of an award granted to the organization that receives the most individual donations. She said many individuals donating could benefit the effort again this year.

While the fundraiser aims to maintain current programming, which operates at 11 locations in the community, Huber said the long-term goal is to eventually see Linn County again have a central senior center.

The Witwer Senior Center was located downtown at 305 Second Ave. SE until it closed due to flooding in 2008. Eventually, the building reopened under a new use.

The community has done without a senior center for a decade now, Huber said, adding that senior center programs are essential for the area’s growing senior population.

“People need to socialize ... I think there’s going to be so many things to bring to a community with a senior center,” Huber said.

Witwer programs range from social and physical activities to education and nutrition classes.

To donate to Aging Services’ Give65 campaign, go to https://www.give65.org/agingservices2018.

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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