$15K grant will help Meals on Wheels serve its 900 clients

Jerrie Whiteley Herald Democrat
Meals on Wheels volunteer Nelda Ulmer returns to the Denison Senior Citizens Center Tuesday after delivering meals in the community. (Drew Smith / Herald Democrat)

Grayson County commissioners were all smiles Tuesday as they approved a resolution supporting Meals on Wheels of Texoma’s submission of a grant application the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Executive Director Greg Pittman said the $15,000 that the county gives the program will serve as a cash match for the grant application for what he called “stopgap” funding. He said the grant is weighted so that it gives more money to programs that have a higher number of privately funded meals over those which have a higher number of meals that are funded through government funds.

“It is one of the few places that you can go and get instant gratification,” Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said of the work he has done in the past with Meals On Wheels. He said he used to take his sons to deliver meals once a year on a day set aside for mayors.

Commissioner Phyllis James represents the county on the Meals on Wheels Board and said she agreed with him.

“Not only does it supply the meals, but it also supplies a happy face and a smile for those people who don’t have that everyday,” James said. She said most people take that for grant it everyday until it is gone.

Pittman told commissioners that he works from the standpoint that federal money for the program will one day dry up. For that reason, he said, he is working to make the local program more reliant on local donations than federal dollars.

“We are working toward that end, but until then,” he said, the grant will allow a sixfold investment in local seniors.

Pittman said the program serves around 900 people a day in Grayson County. It takes a crew of around 447 volunteers to make those deliveries each year. Some of those people, Pittman said, make deliveries on only one day of the year, but some also deliver every day of the year.

“There is room,” Pittman said, for both kinds of volunteers and everything in between.

The service, Pittman said, is often the last stop gap for families trying to keep their senior citizens in their own homes. Often times, he said, the seniors will get some sort of home health care and Meals on Wheels so that they can stay in their homes even if they are not able to do things like stand for long periods.

He said those making the deliveries are trained in how to communicate with those being served so that they can spot the signs of cognitive changes that might indicate problems that should be addressed either with family members or with health are provider.

Pittman said donations to the program help it continue to send those smiling faces to the doors of some of the county’s most vulnerable residents.

“Twenty dollars,” he said, “can provide four meals delivered by a caring volunteer.”

He said it also provides the much needed cash match required by so many grant programs.

Commissioner Bart Lawrence also voiced his support of the program and said he is involved with The Farm Bureau, which encourages its members to get involved in a local organization and he has picked Meals on Wheels because of what a good job it does in working at the community level to help people.

To make a donation to Meals on Wheels of Texoma one can send a check to Meals on Wheels of Texoma, 4114 Airport Drive in Denison, Texas 75020 or by going to the website:mowot.org.