The legacy of a great friend of the Hannibal community may be at stake.

Officials with the Hannibal Nutrition Center announced Monday the launching of a major fundraising campaign to assure that the center can remain in full operation.

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The goal of the "SOS (Serving our Seniors) Community Action Fundraising Drive" is to raise $100,000 by the end of the year, so that, according to Board Chairman Roy Hark, "the Center can continue to be open and provide the services so badly needed by so many in the community."

The legacy we refer to, of course, is that of long-time center director Debbie Catlett, who lost a long battle with cancer a few years ago. In fact, the building that houses the Nutrition Center was renamed the Debbie Catlett Senior Center.

Debbie worked tirelessly, even in the midst of her health issues over the years, to make sure the important services provided by the Nutrition Center would continue.

Officials attribute the budget shortfall to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the rising costs of food, labor and fuel.

According to the current Director of the Nutrition Center, Debbie's daughter Margee Tucker, "Nutrition Centers across Missouri have been forced to close because of lack of finances. But, I feel the citizens of Hannibal believe in the mission of the center in helping our senior citizens and those in need, and will be supporting of our efforts."

The emphasis of the SOS fundraising drive is on selling financial sponsorships of the center at different funding levels, with those sponsors recognized by plaques on a dedicated wall of the center.

You can find out more about the Hannibal Nutrition Center's fundraising efforts by calling the center at 573-221-4488.

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