Senior Services of Alexandria is celebrating its 50th anniversary serving the community with a Golden Anniversary Gala this March.
The event will be a festive reunion, honoring the legacy of those who have helped build Senior Services of Alexandria (SSA), including founders, former honorees, and former board members. The organization anticipates 400 guests, including Alexandria city officials, and other community leaders.
Senior Services of Alexandria’s 50-year history began in 1968 when the organization was founded as Senior Citizens Employment and Services of Alexandria. By 2000, it was determined that a new century required a new vision to address an aging society, so the organization shortened its name and expanded its mission and services.
George Pera, former senior minister at Westminster Presbyterian Church was board president during this time of transition and recently reflected, "That [name change] was a turning point for me because, whereas in the past, we had a rather small focus of work, the words Senior Services of Alexandria opened us up to a real future of all kinds of possibilities working with seniors."
"I am so proud today of how very involved SSA is in a myriad of programs that meet the needs of seniors," he said.
Since its inception, SSA has implemented and maintained life-sustaining and life-enriching services for the community’s seniors including Meals on Wheels, which operates 365 days a year and delivers over 48,000 nutritious meals each year, and Groceries to Go, a free grocery delivery program for seniors who are homebound or have limited physical mobility.
For the socially isolated, the Friendly Visitor program arranges for weekly visits with carefully-paired volunteers to ensure meaningful friendships and fulfilling conversation. A DOT Paratransit Program provides low-cost transportation for 1,650 disabled persons across the city, and an educational Speaker Series draws more than 1,000 seniors annually.
Just in the past year, the organization has upgraded and digitized its Meals on Wheels infrastructure to streamline deliveries and client tracking; received the top Virginia “Best Practices” award for its Groceries to Go Program; partnered with the Alexandria Library System to offer cultural programming; implemented a Senior Ambassador Program; and earned a place in the Catalogue for Philanthropy as one of the best small charities in the D.C. area.
The history of the nonprofit will be memorialized at the Golden Anniversary Gala in an honorary video. Key figures within the organization’s past, including Mr. Pera and founder Bill Vosbeck, will tell the story of SSA’s past, present, and future.
“To look ahead at our next 50 years, we must first take a moment to look back at the successes and progress of our first 50,” said Executive Director Mary Lee Anderson. “That’s why we are reaching out to past Gala honorees, former board members, and key figures like Bill and George. We want them all to be part of this special celebration, and thank them for helping to create and build SSA into the vibrant organization it is today.”
The evening, hosted at the Westin Alexandria, will feature live music by Bruthers Plus One and a wine pull presented by UnWined. A silent auction will feature travel getaways, sporting tickets, and elegant restaurant packages.
After dinner, the lucky winners of the exciting raffle will be revealed. This year's prizes include an Apple EarPods and an Alexa Show; a $150 gift card to Vermilion; a luxurious spa basket from Sugar House Day Spa & Salon and a $500 getaway package to gamble, eat, and stay at MGM National Harbor Casino.
Come reminisce and support a good cause. The Golden Anniversary Gala will be held on Saturday, March 17 at the Westin Alexandria. Call 703-836-4414 ext. 110 or go to www.seniorservicesalex.org for more information about sponsorship opportunities or to purchase tickets.