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Empty Bowls 2016


Dougherty County Rotary Club delivers gifts for Santa for Seniors 2015


Council on Aging Looks Back Over Year


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Date Posted: January 29, 2016
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Date Posted: December 09, 2015
Empty Bowls 2016

ALBANY HERALD — Jennifer Parks

Tickets are on sale for the Empty Bowls event that will take place at the Albany Civic Center on Jan. 20.

The upcoming Empty Bowls will mark the fifth year of the annual event. It is a joint outreach effort between the Albany Area Arts Council and the SOWEGA Council on Aging designed to fight hunger with the help with community artists.

“It is a participation between two organizations that are trying to bring awareness to (hunger),” said Izzie Sadler, development director for the Council on Aging. “We are trying to do that through the arts.”

For a $20 ticket, individuals will take home a handcrafted bowl — which is wrapped up promptly after selection — meant to serve as a reminder of empty bowls throughout the community. They will then will be able to partake in a soup lunch from one of many Albany area vendors.

The event is set for 11 a.m.- 1 p.m., and will be on the center’s arena floor — giving all the participants more room to mingle as the growth of Empty Bowls has begun to cramp everyone tighter together.

“There will be a lot more room for food vendors, and tables to display bowls,” said Sadler.

The bowls are made by potters in the region. Nicole Williams, executive director of the arts council, said most of the artists volunteering their efforts include those in the region between Columbus and Valdosta. They often include Albany State University students and board members from the arts council.

“At the Clay Spot, they have this challenge where you make two bowls for $20, and one of them gets donated to Empty Bowls,” Williams said.

Some of the vendors have typically included the culinary program from Albany Technical College, as well as a group from Westover High School, Sadler said.

Williams and Sadler said proceeds will be split evenly between the Council on Aging and the arts council. Council on Aging will earmark its half for the Meals on Wheels program, and the arts council is planning to use its portion of the proceeds for artist receptions.

“One of the most important things to remember is that Empty Bowls is an international (grassroots movement),” Williams said. “It is nice to have the local community working together, and the money stays here. I think that is why we have the community engaging like we do.”

The Empty Bowls Project was originally created by Imagine/RENDER as a grassroots movement to end hunger. Since then, each participating community has held its own Empty Bowls event to further the cause in its own way.

“It’s (about) awareness, a good time for those who give to it,” Williams said.

To start, there were 400 tickets for the Albany event — more than half of which are accounted for.

For more information call the arts council at (229) 439-2787 or the Council on Aging (229) 432-1124. Tickets should be purchased at the Council on Aging, which is located at 335 W. Society Ave., by calling the organization or by visiting

The Civic Center is located at 100 W. Oglethorpe Blvd.



Date Posted: December 08, 2015
Dougherty County Rotary Club delivers gifts for Santa for Seniors 2015

ALBANY HERALD - Jennifer Parks

The Rotary Club of Dougherty County delivered gifts to SOWEGA Council on Aging clients on Tuesday as part of the annual “Santa for Seniors” program.

This was the fifth annual “Santa for Seniors” event in which the club raised money to purchase Christmas gifts to clients who may not normally receive a gift. Club members arrived at the Council on Aging’s facility on West Society Avenue at around 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday to have a lunch at the center before gathering gifts and making deliveries.

“We take for granted that not everyone gets a (Christmas) gift,” said Izzie Sadler, development director for the Council on Aging. “They (the Rotary Club) came to us to see if there was a need.”

More than 150 throws and cookie boxes were delivered to housebound Meals on Wheels clients in Dougherty County this year with the $1,500 raised by Rotarians through the club’s “Happy Bucks” collection done at its weekly meetings. Rotarians gave the Council on Aging the money, and the Council on Aging purchased the gifts.

“You should see the faces of these seniors,” said Bil Sadler, the club’s president. “Many don’t have family around. It means a lot to them, so it means a lot to us.”

The project is part of the Dougherty County Rotary Club objective, which is “to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise” and to foster four points supporting the club’s motto “Service above Self:”

— The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;

— High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;

— The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business and community life;

— The advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional people united in the ideal of service.

When “Santa for Seniors” was getting started, club members were raising $700 for the cause. In the last two years, more than twice that amount has been raised without extra fundraising, the club president said.

He added it goes along well with the club’s district governor’s goal of serving seniors.

“It’s fun playing Santa Claus,” Bil Sadler said.


Date Posted: November 20, 2015
Council on Aging Looks Back Over Year



A guest appearance by Georgia Department of Human Services Commissioner Robyn Crittenden and an overview of activities at the SOWEGA Council on Aging highlighted the SOWEGA Council on Aging’s annual meeting on Thursday.

Crittenden, in her remarks at the meeting Thursday at the Kay Hind Senior Life Enrichment Center, said a focus will be to ensure older adults have services that enable them to maintain a strong quality life and sense of dignity.

Specifically, she said, a movement will be put in motion to better connect the elderly in need to food stamps.

“In the coming months, you will see the agencies focus on senior hunger in our state,” she said.

Kay Hind, executive director for the SOWEGA Council on Aging, noted the events and programs from the past year, which included Tai Chi sessions, establishment of a community garden, rental of the senior center facility for outside events, the thriving of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, the donation of air-conditioning units by the Dougherty County Rotary Club, annual fundraisers, and a visit from U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden.

The volunteer program has included the building of ramps on the homes of those who would otherwise be homebound, and the production of teddy bears for patients at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. Empty Bowls and the annual comedy night have been among the fundraisers.

The next Empty Bowls event is set for Jan. 20 at the Albany Civic Center. There will be 400 tickets for 400 bowls available as part of a project designed to fight hunger and create awareness about it. It is a joint outreach of the Albany Area Arts Council and the Council on Aging.

At the meeting, there also was a slate of board members who were approved. They were Kim Lee, Melody Ellis, Tangela Campbell, Gayle Chapman, Lou Lee, Ragan Fretwell, Reba Stewart, William Collins, Chris Quick, Ervin Brock, Suzanne Perrine and James Carswell.

Sherman Willis, who has also served on the board, was presented the Martha Eaves Advocating for Positive Change Award for his role in bringing in Council on Aging Developmental Director Izzie Sadler and for advocating for the Senior Life Enrichment Center that opened in 2013.

The annual report showed that there is an elderly population in Southwest Georgia of 67,369. Of those, 25 percent reside in Dougherty County. The Council of Aging served 833 people residing in 14 Southwest Georgia counties in Fiscal Year 2015, the report showed.

Over the year, there were 107,029 congregate meals served. The Council on Aging has offered out-of-town trips, a farmer’s market, exercise classes, educational luncheons, art classes and other activities. In FY 2014, there were 21,763 hours of adult day care services provided, and in FY 2015, 769 people in Southwest Georgia were served with nursing home alternatives through the Community Care Service Program at a cost of $13.65 million, the annual report said.

The service area for elder abuse prevention includes 3,619 beds. One hundred and fourteen clients were served over the last year in homemaker services and 63 were served through the family caregiver program. There also were Medicare savings of $1.83 million generated for clients through Georgia Cares, the report said.


Date Posted: October 20, 2015
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