Organization and History

In 1970, a group of Leon County citizens became concerned about the growing need for senior services. Responding to the needs identified in their "Senior Society Survey," Frances Clay and the founding members envisioned and began an effective and efficiently organized approach to helping seniors. They called themselves the Senior Society Planning Council. Soon after, state and federal grants were added to the initial United Way and community donations, and more services and programs were made available to seniors.

For over four decades, Elder Care Services Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and donors have been proud to help improve the quality of life for seniors.

Organization and History: The Timeline

  • May 1972

    Meals on Wheels delivers the first meals in May, 1972. SSPC sponsors the Leon County Meals on Wheels program after raising approximately $10,000 in local matching funds.

  • January 1974

    SSPC begins serving group meals in three Leon County locations: Georgia Bell Dickinson Apartments, Trinity United Presbyterian Church, and St. Thomas More Co-Cathedral.

  • 1977

    Holiday meals are initiated by Meals on Wheels volunteers, Anne and Jack Robertson and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.

  • 1978

    The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is launched.

  • October 1978

    The SSPC Kitchen opens. Meals are prepared for the Leon and Wakulla County Nutrition Programs (approximately 550 per day).

  • January 1980

    Funds to provide basic necessary supplies and services such as a bath, clean clothes, a livable environment, trips to the doctor, and respite services for caregivers are secured through the State Community Care Program for the Frail Elderly (CCE).

  • 1981

    The Adult Day Center at Gray Memorial United Methodist Church opens its door to provide quality care for elders while family members received respite care.

  • February 1982

    The SSPC Kitchen expands meal preparation to 13 counties in North Florida, with a production schedule of over 2,000 meals per day.

  • 1988

    ECS holds the first Holiday Meals fundraiser (now "Let’s Do Lunch!").

  • 1989

    ECS moves from the Northwood Mall to a new location at 2518 West Tennessee Street.

  • October 1991

    Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions and RSVP-Central Panhandle Programs are acquired by ECS, extending services to 14 additional counties.

  • 1991

    A "Home Dining" (fee-for-service) option is introduced which enables less frail individuals to purchase meals.

  • 1991

    The STARS (Seniors Transporting At Risk Seniors) project is created under RSVP to provide medical transportation, grocery shopping assistance, and other services to clients not served under the other programs.

  • 1991

    SSPC adopts a new name, Elder Care Services, Inc. (ECS).

  • 1992

    ECS establishes the Catherine Clark Branch Endowment Fund. Ms. Branch received our services for many years and through her bequest to ECS established a fund to provide services to seniors.

  • 1992

    ECS begins recognizing 100-year-old clients with a "100-Year" Birthday Party each year. Capital City Bank begins sponsoring the event in conjunction with their 100th Anniversary.

  • 1992 - 1993

    ECS receives a Knight Foundation grant (1992) and UPS grant (1993) to replace 14-year-old kitchen equipment and make renovations.

  • 1993

    Adopt-a-Grandparent project opens doors for volunteers throughout the community to help fill many unmet needs of ECS clients.

  • 1994

    Miles for Meals 5K Run/Walk takes place through a partnership with Gulf Winds Track Club.

  • 1994

    ECS begins participating at the Alternative Christmas Market held by John Wesley United Methodist Church.

  • December 1994

    Elder Elf spreads holiday cheer by matching the community’s generous gifts with our client’s needs.

  • March 1995

    ECS celebrates its 25th Anniversary at the National Guard Armory.

  • 1995

    Ft. Braden Community Center is added as a Senior Lunch Bunch Site.

  • 1996

    Solutions program gives seniors a new option of purchasing care which is not limited by the availability of government funding.

  • 1996

    Information and Referral Counselors are handling over 5,000 inquiries per year. ECS becomes known as the source of information and advocacy on aging issues, and the connection between seniors in need and the resources available in our community.

  • 1998

    The Fanny Jo Drake Adult Day Center opens at Grace Lutheran Church. In recognition of a major gift by Meals on Wheels volunteer Roberta Drake, the center is named in honor of her mother-in-law.

  • 1999

    Celebrate Seniors Week begins with activities and recognition events honoring seniors, culminating in a Friday evening fundraiser event, sponsored by Infinity Software Development, Inc. This event becomes Oktoberfest in 2001.

  • 1999

    The creation of the organization’s web site — www.ecsbigbend.org — thanks to FSU computer student, Randy Baker.

  • 1999

    ECS’s Case for Support, The Spirit Should Never Grow Old, wins a national Mature Media Merit Award. This booklet documents ECS’s history, vision, and challenges, presenting four key need areas of seniors in the community and ways to help, now and in the future.

  • February 2000

    Added Bethel Towers as a Senior Lunch Bunch Site.

  • December 2001

    The Holiday Meals on Wheels program is awarded the Most Innovative Program by the Florida Association of Aging Services Providers.

  • 2001

    ECS recognizes 25 years of service by employees Angelina Thornton and Fay Pridgeon.

  • 2002

    The RSVP program is selected as one of ten national finalists for Mutual of America’s Community Partnership Award.

  • 2004

    Celebrate Seniors Oktoberfest moves to Goodwood Plantation as the event expands and attendance nears 500.

  • 2004

    Florida Agency for Health Care Administration recognizes ECS as the winner of the 2004 Partnership Award from AstaZeneca and National Managed Healthcare Congress.

  • 2004

    ECS replaces its 15 passenger vans with the support of the Frueauff Foundation.

  • 2005

    ECS celebrates its 35th Anniversary in the community and begins renovation work on space for new Elder Day Stay center in Lake Ella Plaza.

  • 2012

    ECS celebrates its rich history with its 40th Anniversary of service for seniors in Leon County.

  • 2012

    ECS establishes the A Heart that Serves Meals on Wheels Memorial Fund.

  • 2013

    ECS celebrates the delivery of its 4 Millionth meal.

  • 2014

    ECS receives Banfield Charitable Trust Grant and implements Pet Food Distribution Program for Meals on Wheels clients who oftentimes share their meals with their beloved companions.

  • 2014

    ECS receives additional funding from the Frueauff Foundation to establish a Saturday Retreat at Elder Day Stay to give families and caregivers added respite by providing services on weekends.

  • 2015

    ECS begins counseling services for caregivers and clients who are actively in DOEA programs.