By MIKE MYERS
The Belton Journal
Every year, the Alzheimer’s Association organizes global events to raise funds for The Longest Day, an initiative to create awareness of the challenges faced by caregivers and family members of Alzheimer’s patients.
On June 15, the Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services in Temple hosted an all-day breakfast and lunch grill, at the Hilton Garden Inn parking lot in Temple.
Jamie Moseley, Director of Community Services with Visiting Angels said the idea of an all-day grill fundraiser was founded by a former employee, Sarah Davison, in 2016.
Davison said she knew she wanted to do something with the Alzheimer’s initiative to support the Alzheimer’s Association through a fundraiser.
“The first year we did the all-day grill, it exceeded our fundraising goals. Every year it gets bigger and more volunteers come on to grill or deliver pre-ordered meals to businesses, organizations, and individuals. During the breakfast grill hours, they made a breakfast taco with salsa, meat, cheese, and a drink. Burger meals for lunch and dinner included a hamburger, condiments, homemade cookie, and a drink served until sundown,” said Davison.
In each food bag, there was information on the Alzheimer’s Association and the Visiting Angels organization.
“We get people driving through when they see us grilling, and they pick up a to-go-bag of breakfast tacos or lunch bag of hamburgers,” Davison said.
Volunteers grilled from sunup to sundown in an effort to symbolize the difficult daily journey of those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. The all-day grill was free to the public and donations only were accepted.
Davison’s husband Jeff was on the grill all day. He said that volunteering for him had a meaning to him after he lost a family member to Alzheimer’s.
“It’s such a horrible disease, to watch them lose everything you remember about them, and become so dependent on caretakers and family members for their survival. People don’t die from Alzheimer’s — they die with Alzheimer’s,” Davison said.
Joshua Bildine has volunteered for the grill fundraiser since 2016.
“The cause hit home for me this year because my grandmother passed away in January. It was a long two-year goodbye from Alzheimer’s,” Bildine said.
Visiting Angels is an organization in Temple that provides services and assistance to caregivers and families to help keep Alzheimer patients in the home.
“We provide personal services such as medication administration, bathing assistance, memory care, transportation for doctor appointments, shopping, and field trips like fishing, for our clients,” Moseley said.
She pointed out the hours of challenges faced by caregivers in a day; including the need to assist patients with memory loss and communication difficulties, manage behavior and mood changes, address physical and safety care needs, while juggling their own responsibilities like work, family, and personal life.
As of the last information Moseley had, they were serving 1,900 meals, and set a goal to raise $13,000 that would go directly to the Alzheimer’s Foundation. Over 100 sponsors from healthcare facilities, restaurants, churches, banks, city governments, insurance companies, investment companies, and news organizations sponsored the event.
For more information on Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services contact them at www.visitingangels.com or call (254) 899-9400. They can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
BELTON JOURNAL/MIKE MYERS
A volunteer flips hamburgers for the lunch menu during the Longest Day fundraiser held by Visiting Angels.
BELTON JOURNAL/MIKE MYERS
Longest Day Grill Fundraiser Founder Sarah Davison, along with her husband, Jeff, and mother, Jane Potter, age 86 and Belton resident since the age of two years old, pause for a photo during the Longest Day fundraiser held by Visiting Angels.