• What: The Warmth of Wine
• When: Thursday, Feb. 27, from 6-8 p.m.
• Where: The Century House, 997 New Loudon Road, Latham
• How much: $50
• Info: colonieseniors.org
Low temperatures and a snowier than usual winter has left many older people on fixed incomes struggling to pay their heating bills. For the past few years, Colonie Senior Service Centers has stepped in to help by hosting the Warmth of Wine fundraiser.
The event, now in its ninth year, will take place at The Century House & Hotel Conference Center on Thursday, Feb. 27. On tap that evening will be wine from around the world, light fare and hors d’oeuvres, live and silent auctions and a mystery wine pull. The wine pull cost $20 a ticket and features wines ranging from $20 to $150.
Colonie Senior Service Center communications specialist Kelsey Butz said the event is basically a cocktail party where people are able to chitchat, network and have a great time.
Bill Hoblock, a member of the Colonie Senior Service Center’s board of directors, said the Warmth of Wine also serves to let more people know about what the center does. The not-for-profit provides services to senior citizens predominantly in Colonie but also other parts of the Capital District.
“We came up with the idea to try and get younger people to get familiar with Colonie Senior Service Center and what we do,” said Hoblock, who is an honorary co-chair of the event along with his wife, Kristin. “It’s kind of a way to get younger people together to meet our organization, and we thought, ‘What better way to get people together than a wine tasting event?’ Everyone loves a wine tasting event.”
The event has grown and evolved over the years to attract a bigger audience and raise more money for seniors in need.
“The first year, we had 90 people and raised just over $9,000. Since then it’s grown into a fully legitimate fundraising event,” Hoblock said. “Last year we raised $60,000 with 350 people. This event has really gained some legs, to grow so much in nine years.”
He said that over the years, the event has raised $250,000, and organizers expect to raise $75,000 this year.
“This year will be even bigger, and our initial numbers already exceed last year,” Hoblock said.
The money raised is used for more than just paying heating bills. Funds are also used to make repairs or replacements to heating systems as needed.
“When we started this event, it was originally every dollar goes back to help seniors heat their homes. Every single dollar goes back. For the first seven years we would pay their bills. What we’ve done over the last two years is we’ve enlarged our program to help make repairs to people’s home heating equipment,” said Hoblock. “Now we have seniors that don’t want to leave their homes and they have a 40-year-old furnace that is on its last legs.”
Colonie Senior Service Center began 30 years ago to help elderly people stay in their homes and remain independent.
“The whole goal is to keep seniors home so they can age in place. The big thing is these are seniors on very limited funds,” said Hoblock. “The average income of a person we help is $1,200 a month; average heating bill this winter can be as high as $800. This helps to get them through and this is what the event is all about.”
The Warmth of Wine also benefits the Regional Food Bank through the Century House’s “Enjoy One, Share One” program. For every meal purchased at the Century House, a meal is donated to the food bank.
The event cost $50 per ticket for guest and will be held Thursday, Feb. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. More information can be found at colonieseniors.org