Feeding More Seniors In 2013
At the beginning of 2013, Meals For The Elderly began to receive grants to begin developing a Rural Delivery Program Expansion to help MFTE realize its vision to serve all seniors in Tom Green County by 2014.
1,000 square miles of Tom Green County (TGC) and the vulnerable seniors within those unreached areas are thefocus of Meals For The Elderly’s Rural Expansion Project. An estimated 150-200 seniors in outlying rural areas suffer and are in need of our meal services. Over two years (beginning in 2013), MFTE will start with the neediest areas without service and systematically expand to all unreached areas until every one of the county’s vulnerable seniors are served.
14% of the population of TGC is made up of seniors 65+ years old; 16.3% of those over 65 are below poverty level (per 2010 census). With Mexico a mere 90 mi. away, the county is understandably 35.7% Hispanic. The county is also home to many veterans, mainly because Goodfellow Air Force Base is located in San Angelo. In this diverse group of urban and rural communities, MFTE delivers 42 routes. We currently provide daily hot meals, weekly breakfast meals, weekend meals and social services to 632 seniors in our care with the help of over 2,000 volunteers in San Angelo, Carlsbad, Grape Creek, Christoval and Wall. Areas without service include Harriet, Mereta, Veribest, Knickerbocker, Vancourt, Tankersley, Water Valley, Orient, and seniors living along the Mertzon highway.
Of the TGC areas without services, Harriet, our most needy area, will be the first phase of our expansion project. This 38.2 square mile area is mostly populated by needy, rural, farm-based homesteads, including many homes of migrant workers. Harriet has been severely impacted by lack of rain and disastrous grass fires that impacted the entire county, resulting in loss of jobs, income, and access to food. Harriet is 10+ miles from San Angelo and because its only convenience store and restaurant closed, the area is unable to provide seniors any means of meeting their nutritional needs locally. Our project begins at Harriet, then moves to nearby Mereta and Veribest, and so on until all remaining outlying areas without service are covered.
Feeding TGC seniors would reduce the number of seniors in our part of Texas threatened by hunger each day and add as many as 200 seniors to our care. With the entire county serviced, we can be sure our Texas seniors will not be forgotten. Tom Green County seniors deserve to have nutrition and human contact that keeps them healthy and in their own homes for as long as possible, no matter where they call home.
5 Generous Groups have pledged support through grants amounting to a total of $210,000 for this expansion project.
Walmart Charitable Foundation
San Angelo Area Foundation
San Angelo Health Foundation
James R. & Louis B. Archer Foundation
Meals For The Elderly Board of Directors
The $210,000 will be used to begin and sustain services to these new areas and reflects the complications associated with expanding to unserved rural areas and cost of meal services. The greater distances between clients, few, if any, reliable maps available for the back roads and dirt lanes, and the necessity of a community awareness campaign to find seniors and recruit drivers. That funding will allow for rural seniors’ identification, client intakes, need assessments and any other social services these new clients will need and will account for the recruitment and retention of the 20+ daily drivers necessary for the routes. A heated delivery truck to keep meals at proper temperature will be acquired, as well as additional equipment and supplies to allow our kitchen to handle the additional meals each day.
This project is a dream come true and we are so grateful to all who support us and allow us the privilege of serving all seniors who need us. If you would like to support this project in any way, through donating, volunteering to drive a rural route, or by referring a rural client in need, we'd be so grateful. Call us at 325-655-9200 today and help us reach our goal of reaching all seniors in Tom Green County by 2014.