Carol Kuck grabbed her bowling ball and raised it up, keeping her eyes locked on the pins. She swung it back and then forward, releasing it and watching as it barreled down the lane crashing into the pins.
Kuck was one of about 16 people from Cortland Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center who took part Saturday in the Cortland County Area Agency on Aging’s 13th annual Strike Out Hunger bowl-a-thon at Cort-Lanes on Route 13 in Cortlandvillle.
The event came about as a fundraiser for March for Meals — a national fundraising effort to support senior meal programs, said Liz Haskins, the director of the Cortland County Area Agency on Aging.
She said, like last year, all the lanes were full. There were 96 bowlers and more than a 100 people total at the event.
The agency is considered a lifeline to many “frail and older adults and their caregivers,” Haskins said. The meal program, which is available to people over 60 who meet eligibility guidelines, serves an average of 225 clients a day.
“This enhances our programs and enables us to serve a greater population,” Haskins said.
Haskins said people were also able to drop off canned and boxed goods as part of the agency’s ongoing food drive during the month.
Sherry Rainbow works at Cortland Park and was on one of four teams from the nursing home competing in the event. Rainbow’s mother had received Meals on Wheels, so as soon as Rainbow heard the event was coming, she wanted to get as many people involved as she could.
“It’s been my passion to help senior citizens,” she said. “They need our help.”
Kay Harvey, manager of the Scott Senior Center, has been doing the event for 10 years. This year she and about 10 of her relatives and friends participated. The youngest bowler on the team was her 2-year-old grandson, Allen Davies.
Allen stood at the edge of the lane watching as his ball slowly rolled to the pins as his family cheered and clapped. Around him, high fives were common, but many bowlers didn’t really care about the score — at least not the bowling score.
The amount of money raised through the event is not expected to be available until later in the week.
“I look at it as family support family,” Harvey said. “They’re supporting what I do. Every year I gain a team.”
Harvey said she likes bowling too and noted she had to participate in two more games on her bowling leagues after the bowla-thon event.
Justen Cole is a food service helper at the Cortland County office building. His family came to support him and the agency.
“My mom was getting Meals on Wheels for 10 years and just stopped in the last four months,” said Kim Woods, Cole’s mother. “It’s awesome. We always have a good time.”
“And it’s for a good cause,” family member Jodi Gailor said.