The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

June 25, 2013

Meals on Wheels of Palestine facing funding cuts


PALESTINE — Home Delivered Meals

Meals on Wheels of Palestine Inc. delivers 225,900 meals a year in Anderson, Cherokee and Rusk counties.

“We operate here in Palestine mostly with volunteer deliveries. In the other two counties, we have vehicles with paid drivers that deliver the meals in a company-owned vehicle. We also have paid people who deliver in their own vehicles and volunteers,” Durant said.

Currently, the MOW program has a waiting list, but clients are usually coming on and going off the list all of the time depending on their health. Generally, MOW of Palestine Inc. serves 1,157 people in the three counties.

“Last year we ran out of funding on our home-delivered program in July and we will probably do the same thing this year,” Durant said.

MOW of Palestine Inc. can apply for a grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture, HB 407, for the unfunded meals.

“Because more agencies across the state will be applying as well, we will get a smaller share because the money will have to go around for all of the agencies that apply,” Durant said. “It would be nice if the Legislature would appropriate more money for these programs.”

In order to receive the HB 407 grant, MOW of Palestine Inc. also has to get small grants from Anderson, Cherokee and Rusk counties.

“We try to get funding every where we can. We apply for grants from foundations wherever we can find them, especially those that are beneficial to elderly programs,” Durant said.

MOW of Palestine Inc. just received a $1,000 donation from Walmart Distribution Center 6036 in Tucker and another $1,000 donation from Altrusa International of Anderson County.

“We’re grateful for all the moneys that we have received,” Durant said.

On-site Meals

In addition to home deliveries, MOW of Palestine Inc. also offers on-site meals in Palestine, Frankston, Henderson and Jacksonville five days a week.

“Our numbers have been down. We used to do 50 a day, but now we are averaging 30 to 35,” Durant said. “The food is very good and nutritious.”

The on-site meals are available to anyone over age 60 and their spouses (only one spouse has to be 60 or above).

“We ask for a donation of $3, but if they don’t have it, we don’t turn them away,” Durant said.

At one point the Meals on Wheels board of directors discussed operating its on-site program four days a week instead of five, similar to programs in Tyler, but hasn’t done so yet.

“We know there are some that have no other means of getting food and we don’t want to cut that,” Durant said. “We’re trying our best not to do any drastic cuts, but it might become necessary.”

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