Meals on Wheels of Texoma receives $1.5M donation for new kitchen

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Volunteers with Meals on Wheels of Texoma prepare meals at the senior center in Sherman in 2017. The organization announced Thursday that it has received a $1.5 million donation toward the construction of a new centralized kitchen from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Meals on Wheels of Texoma received a Christmas miracle Thursday when it received a $1.5 million donation toward the creation of a centralized kitchen.

In a release issued Thursday, representatives for MOWT said the senior meal organization is among 384 organizations that have received gifts Mackenzie Scott in the last four months.

It is estimated that Scott has donated more than $4.1 billion in the past year to causes and charitable organizations across the country and Puerto Rico.

“There are no words to express our profound gratitude for this incredible gift," Meals on Wheels of Texoma CEO Greg Pittman said. "This is a pivotal, transformational moment for our organization. After a very difficult year, there is just something incredibly validating about a gift of this magnitude and what it means to the entire Meals on Wheels Texoma organization.

"To be one of 384 organizations chosen by Ms. Scott and her team, well, it really is a Christmas miracle.”

Scott is the ex-wife of Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos, and was was with the company since its origin.  According to Forbes, she is the third richest woman in the world with an estimated worth of $55.1 billion.

The dream of having a centralized food kitchen for its operations across Texoma has been goal for the organization for several years. Thanks to this donation, the project is now fully funded.

"We've been talking and trying to get through all the details, I suppose ... and we finally got through the plans and architectural designs and we needed to raise the money," Pittman said. "Then, COVID-19 hit, and since then, it has just been on the backburner. This was just what the doctor ordered."

Consolidate eight kitchens to its primary building at North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field. A warehouse attached to the headquarters will now be renovated into a large-scale kitchen operation.

The next step for the project will be to confirm cost estimates for the project, Pittman said. It has been a year since estimates were made for the project, and Pittman said he will need to verify these numbers before construction can happen. Work could proceed as soon as late January.

Pittman said the organization did not apply for any aid or make any requests. Instead, Scott and a team vetted a list of over 4,000 organizations for potential donations. That list was later downsized to 384 organizations.

"Aside from this consulting organization sharing with us that it was prestigious and an honor to have been through the vetting process, I am not privy to what went on in the decision making process," Pittman said.

Scott wrote about the donations earlier this week in a post entitled, "384 Ways to Help" on her personal blog. In the post, Scott wrote that she and her team looked for ways to accelerate her giving to help individuals suffering through the pandemic and its aftereffects. 

MacKenzie Scott, seen here on March 4, 2018, arriving at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif., announced a $4.2 billion donation to 384 charitable organizations Tuesday. One of those organizations is the Rockford-based YWCA Northwestern Illinois.

" These 384 carefully selected teams have dedicated their lives to helping others, working and volunteering and serving real people face-to-face at bedsides and tables, in prisons and courtrooms and classrooms, on streets and hospital wards and hotlines and frontlines of all types and sizes, day after day after day," Scott wrote.

"They help by delivering vital services, and also through the profound encouragement felt each time a person is seen, valued, and trusted by another human being. This kind of encouragement has a special power when it comes from a stranger, and it works its magic on everyone."