HAMPDEN — On June 20, Hampden Senior Center will host its Grab and Go Fundraiser Dinner as part of its efforts to raise funds to support the Alzheimer’s Association. The event is one of the first in a series of annual events organized by the Hampden Senior Center, East Longmeadow’s Pleasant View Senior Center and the Longmeadow Adult Center to support the cause.

Hampden Senior Center’s Grab and Go Fundraiser Dinner will take place at the center from 4-5 p.m. and will include music as well as support from local officials and political representatives, Outreach Coordinator Wendy Cowles told Reminder Publishing.

The dinner will include pasta with sauce and meatballs, a salad and a dessert. The meatballs and sauce were donated from Fazio’s Ristorante and Pizzeria in East Longmeadow. Meals will be prepared at the center, Cowles stated.

Participants will need to register ahead of time by calling the Hampden Senior Center and can pick up their meal on the day of the event, Cowles said. The event is $10 for each person, which can be paid at the center before or during the event.

The Grab and Go’s date was selected to be on June 20 because it is the summer solstice, or the longest day of the year. Each year, events are organized for Alzheimer’s awareness on this day in order to represent the how the day “outshine[s] the darkness [of Alzheimer’s] with the most light,” Cowles explained. The Longest Day movement was first started by the Alzheimer’s Association, she said.

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that progressively affects a person’s ability to complete everyday tasks through increasing memory loss. The brain disease can affect many ages, although it typically is seen in adults age 65 and older, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

While Alzheimer’s research has made “great progress,” “there is a long way to go” to find a cure for the disease, Cowles stated.

Proceeds from the Grab and Go will go toward supporting the Tri-Town Team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, a fundraiser organized by the Alzheimer’s Association. For Hampden, the event is located is at Holyoke Community College on Oct. 20, Cowles said. At this event, residents can participate in a variety of activities, eat snacks and complete the “easy walk” at the Sunday morning event, she explained, emphasizing that the event was for all ages.

The Tri-Town Team, consisting of Hampden, East Longmeadow and Longmeadow, first began three years ago as a way to help the towns raise more money for Alzheimer’s research, Cowles stated. Each year, the three towns host a variety of events in order to increase awareness and raise funds, with one event always taking place on the longest day of year, she explained. Through this support and resource pooling, the towns have been able to significantly increase their fundraising abilities as well as resident participation. Together, the three towns raised approximately $11,000 in 2023 from these events, Cowles said.

The 2024 Alzheimer’s awareness events began with East Longmeadow’s chair volleyball game on June 12. The Grab and Go Fundraiser Dinner is the second event, followed shortly by the Dinner Dance Fundraiser in Hampden on July 20, the Trunk Sale in East Longmeadow on Sept. 14 and a pickleball tournament on Sept. 21 in Longmeadow, according to the Pleasant View newsletter.

Additionally, the three centers also co-host a “traveling raffle” for Alzheimer’s awareness. Starting in Hampden, the raffle will stay in each town for two weeks before being passed to another, Cowles said.

This raffle begins on July 20 and runs through Aug. 16, when winners will be announced at Pleasant View. Each ticket is $1 or residents can purchase six tickets for $5, the center stated.

For more information about the Alzheimer’s awareness events, reach out to the Hampden Senior Center at 413-566-5588, Pleasant View Senior Center at 413-525-5436 or the Longmeadow Adult Center at 413-565-4150.