Thursday thanks to Senior Services of Central Wyoming

For many years, Thanksgiving Thursday has provided the people of Casper with the opportunity to “Celebrate with a Purpose.” Thanksgiving Thursday was created as a way to raise money and awareness for various non-profit organizations throughout Natrona County. Since its inception, this fundraising event, held at The Beacon Club, has raised millions of dollars for countless organizations, and on September 21, Blessed Thursday will benefit Central Wyoming Senior Services.

The mission of Central Wyoming Senior Services is “to assist individuals ages 60 and older in Natrona County by providing or accessing community services and resources to maintain their dignity and independence, using qualified and trained staff to help them meet their nutritional, educational, social and psychological needs.” Emotional, financial and recreational needs.

CWSS does many things for the elders of Natrona County, and Thursday will provide the community with an opportunity to invest back in the organization.

“The services we provide help keep seniors in their homes for as long as possible, which is not only good for them, but it’s also good for taxpayers because when there is premature placement, it often comes from money Taxpayers.” said Amy Utley Fleming, executive director of Senior Services of Central Wyoming. “Seniors live longer when they can stay in their homes. That’s basically what we do; our whole goal is to keep Natrona County seniors in their homes as long as possible.”

CWSS offers a myriad of indoor services and activities as well, including exercise programs, bingo, pool opportunities, live dancing, and more. This is in addition to the nutrition services they provide every day, which includes a hot, nutritious meal once a day that is approved by a registered dietitian and is “heart-healthy.”

“We provide nutrition for a lot of people who come here — this is the only meal they will have that day,” Utley-Fleming shared. “Staying active is also a big part of our mission. We are proud of the ways we meet the needs of our members. We offer classes to stay active and facilitate monthly presentations to educate seniors on the best ways to take care of themselves. We are more than just a place to grab a meal; we are a community center that provides Safe physical activities, daily sustenance, and companionship for the Natrona County and surrounding area community over the age of 60.

CWSS provides a tremendous service to Natrona County seniors and their families, but doing so comes at a cost.

“So far this fiscal year, Raw Food has a budget of $143,000,” Utley-Fleming revealed. “Right now, we have three months left in the year, and we’ve spent $166,000. So we’re already $23,000 ahead of previous years. I imagine the final total will be $40,000 to $50,000 more than budgeted this year.”

Otley-Fleming said the kitchen director at CWSS works hard to be frugal and shop smart, and if she didn’t, the total would be closer to $60,000 over budget. But she said food services are the most important thing they provide to seniors, and it’s something they simply can’t overlook. That’s why they need help.

“Fundraising is very important to us,” Utley-Fleming said. “The cost of food is enormous. Even ordinary consumers feel the cost of raw food through the roof. But for us, the biggest expenses are the cost of food, paper supplies, utilities and labor in order to stay competitive. So we have to do a lot of fundraising to cover Our expenses; more than I actually saw us having to make.

CWSS relies on the kindness of strangers and supporters, all of whom will have the opportunity to bid on some great items on Thanksgiving Thursday.

“We have a few weapons,” Utley Fleming revealed. “One of the items we are auctioning off is a women’s pink Glock 43X. It comes in a package with a wallet, ammo and a timer. It’s really nice.”

They are also auctioning off a kayak package for couples, which includes two kayaks and multiple accessories, as well as a “date of the month” package, which includes 12 date nights that people can use throughout the year.

Additionally, CWSS is selling a wheelbarrow full of different types of alcohol, and a freezer full of 4-H pork for the pork lover in your life. There’s also a beauty package that gives the winner a full day of pampering with a nail appointment, hair appointment and more. They also auction off a guided hunting trip and a pheasant hunting trip. All these elements make this Holy Thursday event not to be missed.

But even more than the chance to win some really cool things and experiences, it’s the chance to give back to an organization that does so much for this community. Proceeds from this event will go directly back to serving the seniors of Natrona County, both in terms of the cost of food and in terms of hiring the best staff.

“I’m very pro-staff,” Utley-Fleming said. “I’m so grateful for our employees and I’m their biggest advocate. We want to be able to do everything we can for them. Without our employees, we don’t have a job. We don’t have the programs. Our seniors won’t be taken care of.”

Otley-Fleming knows the importance of employees feeling valued. She also knows the importance of providing seniors with a place to eat, socialize and live their lives to the best of their ability. She is proud of the work she and her team do, and she is proud to live in a community like Natrona County.

“I am so grateful to give back to this community,” she beamed. “It’s amazing to me. I’m very grateful and also extraordinarily surprised by the giving that’s going on in Natrona County. It’s amazing to me.”

She’s not the only one. Countless nonprofit organizations have benefited from events like Thanksgiving Thursday. These events are proof of how great Natrona County is at taking care of each other.

“They are pivotal,” Utley-Fleming said. “They are our lifeblood. We wouldn’t exist without them and that’s why I say one of the things I’m proudest of is how amazing the giving this community is and how many programs there are that are participating in this way of fundraising. A lot of counties around Wyoming don’t have the degree of giving that they do.” “Natrona County enjoys it. We’re so grateful to be here.”

Blessed Thursday benefitting Central Wyoming Senior Services will be held Sept. 21 at The Beacon Club in Mills. Doors open at 5pm with various drink offerings, and the event begins at 6pm For more information, visit the Thankful Thursday website or follow the Central Wyoming Senior Services Facebook page.

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