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.
Holiday meals are initiated by Meals on Wheels volunteers, Anne and Jack Robertson and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
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).
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.
ECS holds the first Holiday Meals fundraiser (now "Let’s Do Lunch!").
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.
A "Home Dining" (fee-for-service) option is introduced which enables less frail individuals to purchase meals.
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.
SSPC adopts a new name, Elder Care Services, Inc. (ECS).
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.
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.
Adopt-a-Grandparent project opens doors for volunteers throughout the community to help fill many unmet needs of ECS clients.
Miles for Meals 5K Run/Walk takes place through a partnership with Gulf Winds Track Club.
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.
Ft. Braden Community Center is added as a Senior Lunch Bunch Site.
Solutions program gives seniors a new option of purchasing care which is not limited by the availability of government funding.
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.
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.
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.
The creation of the organization’s web site — www.ecsbigbend.org — thanks to FSU computer student, Randy Baker.
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.
ECS recognizes 25 years of service by employees Angelina Thornton and Fay Pridgeon.
The RSVP program is selected as one of ten national finalists for Mutual of America’s Community Partnership Award.
Celebrate Seniors Oktoberfest moves to Goodwood Plantation as the event expands and attendance nears 500.
Florida Agency for Health Care Administration recognizes ECS as the winner of the 2004 Partnership Award from AstaZeneca and National Managed Healthcare Congress.
ECS replaces its 15 passenger vans with the support of the Frueauff Foundation.
ECS celebrates its 35th Anniversary in the community and begins renovation work on space for new Elder Day Stay center in Lake Ella Plaza.
ECS celebrates its rich history with its 40th Anniversary of service for seniors in Leon County.
ECS establishes the A Heart that Serves Meals on Wheels Memorial Fund.
ECS celebrates the delivery of its 4 Millionth meal.
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.
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.
ECS begins counseling services for caregivers and clients who are actively in DOEA programs.