KEYSER - Only two weeks remain to reach out and help Aging & Family Services raise enough funds to qualify for a grant from the USA Today Network's “A Community Thrives” program which will help them be able to provide more comprehensive services to the senior citizens of Mineral County.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Only two weeks remain to reach out and help Aging & Family Services raise enough funds to qualify for a grant from the USA Today Network’s “A Community Thrives” program which will help them be able to provide more comprehensive services to the senior citizens of Mineral County.
Aging & Family Services announced earlier this year that they had purchased the former Pizza Hut on U.S. Route 220 south of Keyser with the intention of renovating it into a nutrition site for Keyser area seniors.
In September, the Gannett Foundation, operated by the parent company of the Mineral Daily News Tribune, issued an invitation to Keyser area agencies and non-profits to submit an application to participate in “A Community Thrives,” a national initiative designed to help non-profits with projects focused on community building.
Since 2017, the program has helped to distribute more than $6.5 million from donations and grants across the United States.
In order to become eligible for grant funding from Gannett, the non-profit must conduct a fund raiser between Sept. 21 and Oct. 16. If the fund raiser is successful, they will be placed in the running for grant money from the Gannett Foundation.
As of Monday, Aging and Family Services had raised $4,015 toward their goal.
In his application to participate in the program, A&FS director Scott Mallery stated that the agency’s mission is “to promote and maintain the highest quality of life and independence by developing and providing services that meet the needs of the elderly and their families.”
According to Mallery, there are over 7,000 senior citizens in Mineral County.
“Last year, we served over 38,515 meals and provided over 159,173 hours of in-home care to keep the elderly and disabled in their homes and out of the more costly nursing homes,” he said.
Noting that the senior centers “play a key role in the lives of our elderly,” he explained that the centers “are a place where older adults, age 60 and older, come together for services and activities that reflect their experience and skills, respond to their diverse needs and interests, enhance their dignity, support their independence, and encourage their involvement in and with the center and community.”
The new senior center would replace the current nutrition site located at 30 S. Church St., where services have long outgrown the space.
“Last year we individually served 3,500 seniors out of Mineral County’s 7,000 seniors,” Mallery said. “We assist one out of every two older adults in our county with one of our various services.  “Annually, Mineral County provides services to as many or more individuals than most West Virginia counties.  Last year, the Keyser Senior Center alone served 31,600 meals to older adults, 60 and over, living in Keyser, Elk Garden, and Piedmont area.”
The new senior center will offer a larger space, with safer access and expanded parking, and will enable the A&FS to expand the services offered to the county’s older citizens.
The fundraiser is now online, and may be accessed by visiting https://acommunitythrives.mightycause.com/organization/Aging-And-Family-Services-Of-Mineral-County/  or by visiting the Aging & Family Services Facebook Page.