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Serving Seniors Celebrates 50 Years of Supporting Low-Income Seniors in Need

Anniversary year honored with client and volunteer events and an anniversary fundraising campaign of $5 million over five years

San Diego CAServing Seniors, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping low-income and homeless seniors throughout San Diego, is celebrating its 50th anniversary year in 2020. The milestone will be marked with events and celebrations throughout the year to honor senior clients, volunteers, staff and donors who help make programs and services possible for more than 5,000 seniors in need each year.

A special lunch service at the Oceanside Senior Community Center  will take place on Thursday, January 23. Oceanside Mayor Paul Weiss and Serving Seniors CEO Paul Downey will discuss how the program has impacted the community and share goals for 2020, including expanding the number of meal services offered at OSCC.

Founded in 1970, Serving Seniors has been at the forefront of senior issues in San Diego for half a century. From advocacy and mental health programming to housing and nutritional meal services, the organization has created a nationally recognized, innovative model of comprehensive services. In 2019, there were 644,099 meals served, 445 seniors housed and a total of 5,549 seniors overall who benefited from services and programs (an increase of 12 percent from 2018).

In light of the increasing demographics of seniors over the next decade, Serving Seniors is committed to supporting the crucial services that so many senior clients are dependent upon, and will be launching a $5 million fundraising campaign over the next five years. To kick-start the campaign, San Diego philanthropist Una Davis has generously donated the lead gift of $1 million.

“I’m delighted to help support an organization like Serving Seniors because it is vital to our community,” said Davis. “Every person, regardless of age or occupation, should have access to basic needs. This donation will go towards supporting those life-sustaining services that ultimately allow seniors get the help they need and live full, happy lives.”

Coinciding with the anniversary year, Serving Seniors’ President and CEO Paul Downey is celebrating 25 years with the organization. Since being appointed the role in 1995, Downey has guided the nonprofit’s innovative efforts, making Serving Seniors a national model for compassionate and life changing care for seniors in need.

“As we reflect on the past 50 years, we’re incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made to advance senior issues here in our community, and are grateful to the hundreds of staff, volunteers and donors who make our mission possible,” said Downey. “With more than 1 million San Diegans estimated to be over the age of 55 by 2030, these issues will become increasingly important, and we plan to be at the forefront of those conversations to ensure an even brighter future for low income and vulnerable seniors over the next 50 years.”

To kick off the 50th anniversary campaign, several fundraising and celebratory events are planned for 2020, including:

  • Paul Downey Visionary Fund: Established as a tribute to Paul Downey’s 25 years of leadership, this fund will help support advocacy campaigns, housing and homelessness initiatives, and expansion of meal services.
  • Volunteers Are Our Heroes Event: A special event to recognize the hardworking volunteers who devote countless hours to the organization and its senior clients.
  • 10th Anniversary of the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center – April 10, 2020: Open 365 days a year, the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center in downtown San Diego is the organization’s flagship facility for wraparound programs and services.
  • The Sunshine Gala – April 18, 2020: The 50th Anniversary Gala celebrates 50 years of a vibrant history and brightening senior lives. The event will feature a cocktail reception, dinner, and live and silent auctions with a goal of raising $400,0000 for much-needed programs and services.

The 50th anniversary celebrations are led by longtime Serving Seniors supporters and notable San Diego philanthropists Gary and Mary West, who are serving as Honorary Committee Chairs. Serving Seniors’ past board chair, community leader, and Sempra Energy Director Molly Cartmill serves as the 50th Anniversary Steering Committee Chair and is instrumental in providing leadership guidance and strategic oversight for activities and events.

For more information about Serving Seniors, or to see a full list of programs and services provided, please visit www.ServingSeniors.org or follow along on Facebook @ServingSeniorsSD, Instagram @servingseniorssd and Twitter @ServingSeniors.

About Serving Seniors

Founded in 1970, Serving Seniors is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in San Diego, California, dedicated to serving low-income adults aged 60 and over. A leader in senior advocacy and programming, Serving Seniors has created an innovative model of comprehensive services including nutrition meals, housing, health and social services and lifelong learning opportunities to hundreds of seniors in need. It is the largest provider of meals to seniors in the county, and one of the only organizations in the nation providing such a robust range of services to vulnerable, at-risk older adults.

Serving Seniors President and CEO Paul Downey has been instrumental in the organization’s growth over the past 25 years. Since being appointed the role in 1995,