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Nearly 300 Alamo Area seniors who depend on delivered prepared meals through the popular Meals on Wheels program will not go hungry despite the unexpected cancellation the program in several counties in our region.
The Community Council of South Central Texas (CCSCT), announced at a Guadalupe County Commissioners Court meeting this month that it was ending its Meals on Wheels contract. The agency had operated the program not just in Guadalupe County but also in Comal, Wilson, Karnes, Frio, Atascosa and McMullen counties.
The Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG), along with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) provide funding to agencies such as CCSCT to manage Meals on Wheels in the region. Following CCSCT’s announcement that it would terminate its contract, AACOG’s Aging Services Department mobilized and reached agreements with other partners, ensuring uninterrupted service to needy seniors.
“We had to move quickly because many of our elders depend on these meals,” said Annie Erickson, AACOG Aging Services Director. “We’re thankful to CCSCT for assisting us in the transition and, most of all, for our great partners that graciously took the baton.”
The Comal County Senior Citizens Foundation is one such agency that stepped up. Executive Director Ken Lowery said it was an easy sell to his board because there was simply no way they could stand by and see seniors go empty-handed. The foundation agreed to take over not just Comal but also handle deliveries in Guadalupe, Wilson and Karnes counties.
“I was saddened by thoughts of so many folks going without meals,” said Lowery. “Most of these individuals have no family nearby and their only interaction is with the Meals on Wheels driver. I knew that I could not allow our elderly and disabled friends to go without.”
That decision was literally manna from heaven for Alexandria Leija and her constituents at Balcones Haus senior living community in New Braunfels.
“My residents were devastated when we got word that the program had ended,” explained Leija, property manager. “I think some of them wouldn’t have been able to eat so we feel so blessed to have it back – our prayers were answered.”
Meals on Wheels San Antonio agreed to take over service in Frio and Atascosa counties.
“We firmly believe in the mission of delivering nutrition and social contact to our area seniors and will help as long as necessary,” said CEO Vinsen Faris.
The CCSCT contract expired Friday but, thanks to the new partnerships, service picks up today as previously scheduled. However, while Meals on Wheels San Antonio picks up both AACOG and HHSC contracts in Frio and Atascosa, Comal County Senior Citizens Foundation could only pick up the AACOG contract for the rest of the counties. Discussions are ongoing with HHSC – its contract expires March 23 – as to how to ensure their customers are picked up as well. McMullen County decided to continue the program in-house (no contracts).