Meals on Wheels dedicates McKissick Center

From left, Robert Thomas with the McKissick Foundation, Meals on Wheels director Meta Bowers, Lt. Gov. Henry McMasters, Pickens County Councilman Neil Smith and Sen. Larry Martin help cut the ribbon for the new McKissick Center for Senior Wellness on Friday in Liberty.

LIBERTY — Dignitaries from across the county joined together Friday to dedicate the new McKissick Center for Senior Health in Liberty.

The building, most recently part of Liberty Middle School, has served the Liberty community for many years, once being home to Liberty High School. When the most recent building program led to a new Liberty High School being constructed, the middle school moved to the former home of LHS.

According to Pickens County Meals on Wheels director Meta Bowers, the organization began exploring the idea of operating its own kitchen in 2010 when the school district began its building campaign. The vision became a reality under the leadership of county councilman Neil Smith. In 2013, Pickens County Council unanimously voted to deed the former Liberty Middle School kitchen and cafeteria building to Meals on Wheels. The property consisted of a commercial-quality kitchen, a cafeteria and four classrooms on a lower level.

Development of the former Liberty Middle School campus was guided by Smith’s vision to provide a multi-faceted solution to existing needs in the county.

“The campus was purchased and designed with the community in mind,” Smith said. “I am pleased with the final outcome and know this campus will provide long-term solutions for the community. It is an honor to have helped establish a facility that will serve the diverse needs of our seniors for years to come.”

The newly renovated facility is named in honor of the McKissick Family and their extraordinary support of this transformation of senior services in Pickens County. Now open, The McKissick Center for Senior Wellness is the home for the newly established PCMOW kitchen, its home-delivered meal program, the Young at Heart dining and activity center and minor home repair program.

“The McKissick Family Foundation is happy to support Pickens County Meals on Wheels in its quest to provide the best senior programming possible,” foundation board member Smyth McKissick said. “We are excited to see this incredible organization do great things in the years to come.”

PCMOW launched a $1.258 million “Step Up to the Plate” capital campaign to support its strategic move to renovate the former Liberty Middle School cafeteria and create a permanent endowment to help the organization sustain its growth in the coming years. To date, the campaign has fully funded the building project and the agency continues to work toward the completion of its endowment. A variety of commemorative giving opportunities are available including a brick campaign that will adorn the patio of the new center.

Some meals will be available at the McKissick Center, Bowers said.

Lt Gov. Henry McMaster was present for the dedication. McMaster’s office operates the State Office on Aging.

“The senior population in South Carolina will double by 2030,” McMaster said. “Currently, we’re not adequately prepared for this increase in demand for services. The primary goal of the Office on Aging is to strengthen the effectiveness of senior centers in our state. We know that the Office on Aging’s investment in this project will help Pickens County seniors live active, healthy, meaningful lives while remaining in their own homes.”

While leading tours through the facility, Bowers gave an overview of the organizations’ history and the reach and impact the organization has had since its founding in 1980.

“Today we celebrate an incredible milestone. The opening of The McKissick Center for Senior Wellness marks a new beginning for our organization,” Bowers said. “Going forward, the center will serve as a focal point for senior services, and it is our vision to provide a continuum of care for active, aging and homebound individuals by providing daily meals, social, cultural and educational activities that are designed around the needs and interest of our seniors in mind.”