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Faith group repairs homes of elderly in need

Homes of about a dozen MEOC clients received much-needed repairs and renovations in late June as part of a local faith group’s mission project. Wise Baptist Church joined with the Nickelsville-based Southwest Virginia Partnership to build eight wheelchair ramps, replace two roofs, clean gutters, paint exteriors and complete various handyman projects for the clients.

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MEOC’s 44th Annual Walkathon going virtual

Mountain Empire Older Citizens’ (MEOC) 44th Annual Walkathon, which raises money for its Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly, will be a little different this year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be virtual. The Walkathon is the Emergency Fuel Fund’s major fundraiser. The program assists older people throughout Lee, Wise and Scott counties and the City of Norton with winter heating costs. Last winter, 1,056 older friends and neighbors were assisted with heating-related emergencies at a cost of over $227,000. This year’s Walkathon goal is $165,000.

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MLCC awarded $500 grant

The Mountain Laurel Cancer Support and Resource Center (MLCC) has been awarded a $500 hunger and poverty grant by the United Methodist Appalachian Ministry Network (UMAMN). The money will provide prescribed liquid nutrition to an additional 21 cancer patients served by MLCC. Cancer patients have faced isolation and numerous unknowns during the pandemic.

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Transit fees waived through July 31

MEOC Transit will continue to offer free transportation for essential trips through July 31. Per Virginia Governor’s Executive Order, passengers must wear a face covering while on board public transit vehicles. MEOC has added other safety measures to protect drivers and passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bus sanitization frequency has increased. Passenger numbers per bus are limited. Drivers also wear protective face masks, and plastic curtains have been installed to separate drivers and passengers. Transit is maintaining its normal operating schedule of Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. As always, services are for all ages. Call (276) […]

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Community needs are focus during pandemic

Mountain Empire Older Citizens has made some operational changes during the COVID-19 pandemic but remains committed to providing essential services. MEOC is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Virginia Department of Health recommendations during this public health crisis. The agency has also sought guidance from the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. Executive Director Michael Wampler stressed that serving the aging population is especially vital now. “We are blessed by the support of the community and are focusing MEOC’s resources on providing services to those individuals with the greatest needs during the pandemic,” he stated.

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Foster grandparent celebrated for service

BIG STONE GAP — Eighty-three-year-old Ruth Shawver listened intently from her chair as Bill Dotson began speaking during a February in-service training for Mountain Empire Older Citizens’ Foster Grandparent Program. Dotson, a former FGP director, stood in front of the foster grandparents gathered in MEOC’s conference room on Feb. 24. The meeting was especially significant for Shawver, as it would be her last as a program participant. She has retired as a foster grandparent after 13 years of service.

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