The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

January 23, 2014

Willing hearts & rolling wheels: Couple volunteers for Meals on Wheels; more help needed

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PALESTINE —

Some are in the city. Some are a little ways out. Some live with family. Most are alone.

All depend on the program for food, which makes the couple’s mission especially important to them.

“It's like the mail,” John said during a recent route. “The food's got to be delivered.” He looks out the driver’s side as he says it, while his other half carries a meal to the door for what must be the thousandth time.

Come rain or shine, ice or heat, the team doesn’t shy away from their chosen task — continually electing to drive the miles and carry the meals.

“I got her a rain jacket, boots. Cold and rainy is when it's the worst,” John says, though noting, thankfully, Texas doesn’t have too many of those days.

In any case, neither party considers the program a burden. They still plan lives around their chosen routine, taking time to travel and make good on their retirement days.

“(Meals on Wheels) is really good because they're flexible with us, and they're willing to take us when we can do it,” Liz said. “I think they have trouble getting volunteers these days, and part of it is because gas prices are so high, and so many people financially just can't afford to spend the extra money to deliver.”

 

THE PROGRAM

Though federally funded, the Palestine Meals on Wheels program has suffered in recent months, according to Homebound Coordinator Camille Graham. The more pressing concerns address a lack of volunteers and of funding due to budget cuts and a decrease in donations.

In Palestine alone, the program involves 30 volunteers, who deliver one meal a day Monday through Friday to 135 residents. But the program is actually more extensive than this, since Palestine is the base center for serving not only Anderson County, but Rusk and Cherokee Counties as well.

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