BLS & AAA: Making a difference for Seniors
By Shelly Ballard, past BLS President
Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas, Inc. is a funded government agency. However, like everyone else they have experienced budget cuts. The government funds they receive are already allocated. What they need often are discretionary funds, in other words, CASH.
This is where BLS can help. BLS is affiliated with the Area Agency on Aging but does not operate under its restrictions. BLS is an all volunteer organization, we can spend our time doing what we do best - making lives better for seniors. We can do this by the actions we all take every day. We can also do this by donating funds to organizations like the Area Agency on Aging and many others in our area that help seniors.
BLS does many things to raise funds: BLS donates a portion of the membership fee collected each year to different organizations. In August 2008 BLS held an event called "A Night to Remember" to celebrate BLS's 20th Anniversary. Many BLS members sponsored and or attended the event. Each quarter BLS holds a "Consortium"; an event where many of our members attend, usually from 100-130 people. At each event a small donation is requested at the door from attendees. BLS often collects paper products at consortiums to donate to Suncoast Center. BLS also has a Scholarship fund and accepts donations for this fund from companies and individuals.
Better Living for Seniors awarded $9500 in funding to local charitable organizations in 2013:
$2500- RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program-Pinellas Opportunity Council)--provided funds for mileage reimbursement for volunteers who participate in the program. Due to limited federal funding, not all RSVP volunteers are reimbursed for their mileage while volunteering.
$2000--Ruth's Promise Adult Day Program. Provided funds for the adult day program's scholarship program to all those who need financial assistance to attend on a sliding scale basis.
$2000-Neighborly Care Network-Home Delivered Meals. Provided funds for the home delivered meals program especially to address recent federal cuts as a result of sequestration.
$2000-Victim's Advocate Program (VOCA, under AAAPP). Provided funds to assist Victim Advocates who work with senior crime victims; help with transportation to court or trials, and overcoming obstacles as a result of a crime.
$1000--Metro Wellness Center for LGBT seniors-provided an outreach event to lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender elders for a resource fair, as well as assist with a new friendly visitor program for homebound LGBT seniors.
Much thanks goes to the Area Agency on Aging for continuing to support BLS by providing administrative services, accounting services and much, much more that cannot be valued with a dollar.
Thanks to our members for giving generously of themselves to BLS/AAA and to our seniors everyday. To say I am proud to be a part of this organization would be a massive understatement.