Meals on Wheels to pre deliver Turkey Day meals

Jerrie Whiteley / Herald Democrat
Austin College students help package food for Meals on Wheels recently

Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away and the folks at Meals on Wheels of Grayson County are already preparing so every senior citizen on their routes gets a hot meal for holiday.

Executive Director Greg Pittman said the meals will be delivered in advance of the holiday this year because they simply don't have enough volunteers to take the meals out on the holiday.

He said they do generally get people who are willing to work the holiday and deliver meals but this year, thanks to COVID-19, there are new training requirements. That training takes about three hours, he said, and they just can't get those folks trained in time for them to deliver on the holiday.

Austin College students help to package meals for Meals on Wheels recently.

The meals will go out early, but he said they will include all of the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving feast including roast turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. Roughly 1,400 people will get those meals the week of the holiday. The meals will be cooked at senior centers in Bonham, Sherman, Denison, Whitesboro, Whitewright, Van Alstyne and Gainesville. 

In addition, the seniors will get all of the stuff they normally get for a day including the breakfast bags that have been going out to seniors in the program during the pandemic.

PIttman said that they realized early on in the pandemic that seniors who are a part of the program were some of the folks most likely to be at risk from the illness so they wanted to make sure that they were able to shelter in place without worry about getting food to keep their nutritional needs met. Meals on Wheels was able to get grant money to cover the extra expense for several months but a recent donation from Ruiz Foods will allow them to continue this service.

Austin College students pause while helping to package meals for Meals on Wheels recently.

He said the local Ruiz Foods plant in Denison donated 50 hams on Thursday and plans to donate 50 more next week. Those hams will be used for the Christmas Day meals that will be delivered to program participants. Not having to pay for the protein for that meal, he said, will allow them to spend that money on continuing the breakfast program.

That program includes seniors getting a breakfast bag for every day of the week that contains oatmeal, dried fruit pieces, granola bars, boxed juice, water and a drink mix that contains calcium and cheese.