Ann's Choice "Food for Friends" Wraps Up 3,000th Meal During Milestone Event- Marking One Year of Feeding the Needy

Program Continuing to Help Those in its Own "Backyard" by Providing an Average of 8.2 Meals per Day for Bucks County Community 

WARMINSTER, PA - In its ongoing effort to help feed the hungry, residents and staff at the Ann's Choice retirement community packaged up and shipped out 150 meals, which included the 3,000th entrée, during its recognition of the Ann's Choice Food for Friends project. The project is a collaborative effort where the community provides meals for the YWCA Bucks County, who disburses the food to several charities in the region.  The organizations that receive the food are Bucks Landing, Creekside Family Center and Country Commons. One year ago the project began at Ann's Choice and since that time, countless numbers of people and their families have enjoyed healthy entrees from a local community that cares. Residents packaged up the meals and passed them along to be boxed.  Once the process was completed, which included the wrapping of the 3,000th meal, the food was loaded onto a vehicle and taken to the YWCA's Family Center, completing this important milestone. Ann's Choice resident Judi Reeder, who is involved in the Food for Friends program said, "There is a quote that reads, 'What you are is God's gift to you, and what you do with them is your gift to God.'  It is our responsibility to use our fortunes for other people and when we do that we honor God. If someone has been fortunate enough to have been bestowed gifts in life then it is important for them to share those blessings." "This was a very special day for us here at Ann's Choice because it gave us the opportunity to once again reach out to the community - and do so in a very important way," said Joseph LoCascio, Ann's Choice executive director.  "One year ago we began this very special program--- a program aimed at feeding the hungry and opening our hearts to those in need in our very own backyard." YWCA Bucks County Director of Family Services Sandy Blitzstein said, "We are extremely grateful for the meals that Ann's Choice has been donating to our YWCA Family Centers through the Food for Friends program during the past year.  So many of our participants are struggling to pay their bills and meet their basic needs, so these deeply-appreciated donations of wonderful meals have been a true blessing for so many hungry women and their families.  An elderly couple who receives these meals at the YWCA Bucks Landing Family Center reports that they 'enjoy the dinners so much it's like being treated to dinner at a nice restaurant.'  We cannot thank the staff and residents of Ann's Choice enough for their exceptional generosity." "The meals are prepared, packaged and sent out to the organizations several times a month, and through their wonderful efforts, they are assisting those in need by helping to feed them," said Chris Babst, Ann's Choice director of dining services.  "The food of course is tasty, but it is also nutritious - each meal contains all the important nutrients, vitamins and balance that make up a healthy meal. Susan Abtouche, Ann's Choice director of philanthropy said, "Ann's Choice is no stranger to helping those outside of its own community.  In 2011, close to 850 residents volunteered their time working in a variety of different capacities helping various organizations.  That number is up approximately 100 residents from the previous year, clearly illustrating that more and more people in society are in need of help, and it further underscores how our residents are there to answer the call." In addition to the Food for Friends project, Ann's Choice residents have volunteered their time and efforts to some other organizations in the region, including, but not limited to: • Gilda's Club • Abington Memorial Hospital • New Clothes for a New Tomorrow • Local elementary schools • Project Linus • Bucks County SPCA In 2011, more than 65-thousand volunteer hours were logged, up 10-thousand hours from 2010. More than 2,000 people live at Ann's Choice, an Erickson Living full-service retirement community that promotes a vibrant lifestyle.  Erickson Living develops and manages 16 full-service retirement communities that provide worry-free living for America's seniors - the country's fastest-growing population segment.  For more information, visit www.ericksonliving.com.