A raffle for a 2021 Mercedes SUV will benefit the Osceola Council on Aging social service programs for seniors, disabled adults, and disadvantaged families and Meals On Wheels program. PHOTO/OSCEOLA COUNCIL ON AGING

As 2021 draws to a close, the Osceola Council on Aging has a few announcements and reminders for our readers. The first being that our Mercedes SUV raffle will end on New Year’s Eve. The winning ticket will be drawn during our New Year’s Eve festivities at noon in the Barney Veal Center Congregate Dining on the OCOA campus.

For those unfamiliar, the Council has partnered with Mercedes-Benz of South Orlando to raffle off a 2021 Mercedes GLA-Class SUV. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit the many OCOA social service programs for seniors, disabled adults, and disadvantaged families, along with financial support for our Meals on Wheels and food pantry initiatives.

Like many non-profits and 501c3 organizations, the Council has been required to become additionally creative in our fundraising efforts over the past 18 months. Our marketing team has been profoundly creative in finding new ways to help support our expansive programs, this partnership with Mercedes-Benz is one of those innovative efforts.

“The Mercedes raffle will help supplement a portion of the funds from fundraising events we have been unable to host due to the pandemic,” said Wilda Belisle, OCOA’s Senior VP of Nutrition. “We are fortunate to work with many generous businesses and partners who support our residents while empowering our mission to support the Osceola County community.”

Our MOW program has played a vital role during COVID-19. The Council delivered 440,000 meals to more than 2,500 Osceola County seniors in 2020 alone, with the food pantry distributing 1.8 million pounds of food last year to thousands of families. This year, food and nutrition service needs have continued with upwards of 250,000 meals delivered.

“With our Meals on Wheels and food pantry funding capabilities overwhelmingly affected since the pandemic began in March 2020, and food being our primary requested service at the Council, it’s important that these service programs stay strong,” Belisle said.

There are two reasons to support the Mercedes raffle: to help keep those in need of food in our community fed, while having an inexpensive chance to win a brandnew Mercedes SUV. It’s a win-win! The winner will drive home in a 2021 fourwheel drive, turbocharged, four-cylinder Mercedes. Redesigned in 2021, the SUV has more power than previous models. The GLA offers additional space in the front, rear, and trunk including standard technology (which was previously optional), including a voicecontrolled multimedia system and a digital cockpit with two 7-inch displays.

Cost of raffle tickets are $25 each. To purchase, go to www.osceolageneratons/mercedes. Also, check out our Facebook page for various promotions on discounted tickets leading up to New Year’s Eve, at www.facebook.com/OsceolaCouncilOnAging.

Raffle tickets can be purchased via credit card, or a check can be written and made to the Osceola County Council on Aging, Attn: Marketing Department, 700 Generation Point, Kissimmee, FL, 34744; please note ‘Mercedes’ on the check. Also importantly, the winner of the SUV raffle does not need to live in the state of Florida or be present to win.

In addition to this fundraising effort, additional ways to support the OCOA during the holiday season is to donate to our Toy Store. The OCOA Toy Store is collecting items for lowincome families, (infants to 17 years old), such as new or gently used toys, clothes, games, shoes, and/or any item which could help Osceola children in need. Items for both boys and girls are presently needed.

For more information on the Mercedes raffle or donating to our Toy Store, contact Belinda Olivera at 407-933-9534 or email oliverab@osceola-coa.com.

Wendy Coschignano-Ford is the President/CEO of Osceola Council on Aging.

To see more guest columns by Wendy, go to https://osceolagenerations.org/councils-corner/

Published Tuesday, November 30, 2021