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‘Sip, Sup and Shop’ benefits Meals on Wheels

Rowan County businesses will participate in “September Sip, Sup and Shop” to benefit Meals on Wheels Rowan.

This is the first year for the expanded version of “March for Meals.” Teresa Casmus, a Meals on Wheels board member and owner of The Medicine Shoppe, is chairing the project.

The idea evolved from a fundraising program by the Mobile Meals agency in Spartanburg, South Carolina,” Casmus said.

“Their ‘Dine Around’ event was coordinated through their restaurant association and only included restaurants,” she added. “We wanted to include more local businesses and named our monthlong effort September Sip, Sup and Shop. Businesses are asked to give back a percentage of proceeds or agree to sponsor meals for a Meals on Wheels participant for a week, two weeks or a month.”

Vicki Fink, a Meals on Wheels volunteer from Faith, helped solicit businesses and restaurants to participate.

“Participating in Sip, Sup, and Shop is a win-win,” Fink said. “Local seniors benefit from the monies generated, and local businesses benefit from Meals on Wheels promotions.”

Meals on Wheels is publishing a calendar, providing table tents for restaurants and bag stuffers for shops, and using its website and social media to promote dining and shopping with local businesses on specific dates.

Board member Kevin Pruitt solicited restaurants and said most folks he talked with were happy to get involved.

“It is difficult for small businesses or restaurants to volunteer to deliver meals, but many owners and employees see the value in supporting home-delivered meals for seniors who are homebound or not able to prepare nutritious meals for themselves,” Pruitt said.

Cindy Fink, executive director of Meals on Wheels, said September was chosen for the project because it is usually a tough month for restaurants and retail businesses.

“Back-to-school shopping is over, and the county fair at the end of the month often negatively impacts local businesses,” Fink said. “We felt that this would be a good time to try and promote and support local businesses. We have over 2,000 volunteers, participants and followers on Facebook and Instagram and will do all we can to support our participating businesses.”

Previously, Meals on Wheels piloted a give-back program with a couple of businesses in Salisbury. Rick Anderson, owner of Sidewalk Deli, participated in March for Meals every Thursday in 2018 and said his business increased by 20% on Thursdays in March.

Casmus hosted a “Give Back Saturday” for Meals on Wheels last fall.

“My over-the-counter sales tripled on the day of the Give Back for Meals on Wheels Rowan,” she said.

Posters will designated participating locations. Businesses selected their own days and times of participation.

Gegorek & Associates real estate offered to donate $150 for every real estate closing in September.

Former Meals on Wheels board member Johanna Lovvorn offered to donate 10% of the proceeds from online sales at her business, Homemade by Hannah, at www.homemadebyhannanc.com on Sept. 16-24.

The goal of September Sip, Sup and Shop is to support local businesses so that they, in turn, can support meals for homebound seniors in Rowan County.

“We are hoping that each business will increase their business so that they can sponsor one month of meals ($150) for a Meals on Wheels participant,” said Casmus. “We have 41 restaurants and business participating in our September Sip, Sup and Shop. Our volunteers began soliciting businesses in mid-June and could not get around to everyone.”

September Sip, Sup and Shop volunteers included Vicki Fink, Mark Doby, Charles Whaley, Donna Redfern, Kevin Pruitt, Paige Overcash, Linda Kanipe, Liz Shifflette, Beth Mills, Elia Gegorek, Rob Miller and Cindy Stevenson.

Anyone who wants to participate next year should call Meals on Wheels or send an email to rjones@mowrowan.org.

The online calendar for September Sip, Sup and Shop is at www.mowrowan.org/sipsupshop.

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