Mayor Parker Delivers For Meals On Wheels

Mayor Parker delivers a hot meal with the help of "Meals on Wheels" driver Clyde Samples.
Mayor Annise Parker spent her lunch hour hand-delivering hot meals in the Fifth Ward today, trying to draw attention to the problem of food insecurity among seniors.

The truck stops outside a small rental house and Mayor Parker swings open the side doors.

She takes out a sealed tray of meatloaf and mashed potatoes and then moves over to the refrigerated side.

“I have a hot meal, I have an apple, I have some low fat milk and a piece of whole wheat bread. It’s hot coming out of the truck and the milk is nice and cold so it’s all ready to eat.”

She climbs up the porch and steps inside. She’s here to meet 80-year-old Mary Alice Taylor.

Mary Alice Taylor
Mary Alice Taylor worked for 57 years but now suffers from arthritis. She receives a daily lunch from Interfaith Ministries’ Meals on Wheels program.

Taylor lives alone and is partially blind. She also has arthritis.

“I’m Annise Parker, nice to meet you!”

Taylor: “Oh you the one be on TV all the time, oh my God I got to meet you, how wonderful…”

Interfaith Ministries runs the largest “Meals on Wheels” program in Texas, serving 4,500 seniors a day. The goal is help frail and low-income seniors stay in their homes as long as possible:

Taylor: “I don’t want to go nowhere. All the people that know me, I’m the oldest one on this street, so everybody know me.”

Mayor: “Well, we’re going to try to keep you in your house as long as we can.”

Texas ranks fourth among states when it comes to food insecurity among seniors.

Almost nine percent of Texas seniors are hungry or at at-risk for hunger, not always knowing where the next meal will come from. Parker says that’s inexcusable:        

“We live in the richest country in the history of the earth. And there is plenty of food in America for everybody who needs food. We don’t always distribute it efficiently, and for various reasons – age or disability, lack of resources — people may not be able to access the food that we have, sometimes they need a little helping hand and that’s what we’re doing today.”

For the first time in a few years, Meals on Wheels now has a waiting list for services.

Interfaith Ministries CEO Elliot Gershenson says the demand for services will continue to grow as the Baby Boomers age.

He also anticipates that the federal and state governments will cut back on direct aid for food programs.

 

 

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Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...