Volunteers in St. Paul Working to Prepare Thanksgiving Dinner for Families in Need

26 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

County’s Meals on Wheels delivers food and smiles.

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Thousands of home-bound seniors in North Texas will get a hot turkey dinner and a visit from a friendly face this Thanksgiving. Ford to provide $50,000 to DAAA as part of $1.5 million in financial support, grants, vehicles, and other assistance to hunger relief organizations in 2015, providing millions of meals coast to coast Ford Motor Company is again teaming up with the Detroit Area Agency on Aging (DAAA) for the eighth consecutive year as part of the Holiday Meals on Wheels Thanksgiving program. Last month, Ford Fund and dealers in New England announced they will invest $2 million during the next five years to feed more people in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Sixty-seven percent of the group’s clients are women. “The importance of social nutrition that comes with a person showing up on the doorstep, to say ‘you still matter’ and make the connection with that person, really helps sustain [the clients’] lives,” said Krause.

They are driving away hunger on Thanksgiving with their generous donation that enables us to deliver fresh, hot traditional Thanksgiving meals to 6,000 seniors. Jesuit College Preparatory students woke up early to help, too. “It’s such a tiny thing to do, and it really helps the community out and also reminds us what our community is,” said Alistair Keggen, a junior at the school. When Guzman’s job site moved to the other side of town, she had no idea how she would continue to ensure her elderly mother maintained a healthy diet. It is not only a donation and the volunteers they’re supplying to DAAA, but a gift to our entire community.” Each year, over 48 million people including 16 million children struggle with hunger in the United States. It’s not only the value of nutritional health for the seniors, but mental health that makes this effort important. “Having that visitor to deliver a hot, nutritious meal plus the friendly smile — the connection, human connection — is critical for their well-being,” said Krause.

The reason for the chef stable meal is to ensure the seniors get a meal that doesn’t have to be heated up or put in the freezer. “We will send out a chef stable meal usually any time we have a holiday or inclement weather so they don’t have to prepare a meal,” said Rutherford County Senior Center Director Angela Ezell. That comes in the form of not only 3,000 meals a day, but also pet care through the PALS program (Pets Assisting the Lives of Seniors) and $2.5 million a year in home repairs. Ford Volunteer Corps is celebrating 10 years of community service that has contributed more than one million hours of support in 48 countries around the world.

These are folks who worked hard all their lives, they’ve played by the rules, and they find themselves in these so-called ‘golden years’ in a very tenuous situation, both physically and economically.” Brian Tolbert, head of local nonprofit Operation Turkey, also learned valuable lessons in charity when he was a kid in Bastrop. Even though he admits back then he would rather have been playing Atari, those memories surfaced when Richard Bagdonas, who founded Operation Turkey in 2000 by serving a single plate, asked Tolbert to take the reins in 2010.

Tolbert prefers to use large-scale chains because it helps with expanding the organization into other states, removing some of the headache of continually finding new places to operate. He was given permission – but the owners were skeptical. “So Thanksgiving Day comes around, and I can see it in Cathy’s face,” Tolbert said. “She was absolutely nervous. We tell people, ‘Do this, this, this.’ People fall into place, and it becomes this well-oiled machine in a short amount of time. “And Rob, Cathy’s husband, I’ll never forget, there in the middle of the event he kind of takes me over to the side and he says, ‘Brian, you know what, when you first came in, you sat down at the table and told us that you were going to bring a thousand plus people here, you were going to turn this chaos into organization. Even though at the time he’d have rather been doing something else, he says he still looks back on his childhood memories of feeding people with fondness. “It apparently gave me a base foundation about what giving is about.” Wanting to stay at home “was me being a selfish child. Plain and simple,” he said. “And so I realized real quick I better stop being selfish.” Bob Batlan, an Austin Interfaith board member, belongs to Temple Beth Shalom in Northwest Austin, so he admits he thought it was a little odd when the service committee chair at his wife Mary Lou’s church, Westlake United Methodist, offered him a seat.

Shortly after Batlan joined, the group began organizing to help Mobile Loaves & Fishes, a Catholic service organization founded in 1998 to feed Austin’s hungry. Starting at 5:30pm, Downtown’s homeless population was treated to an evening of being waited on. “A lot of them are usually kind of lonely on the holidays,” said Trudy Six, commissary manager for St.

It’s just a way for them to feel love at a time [when] if you don’t have any loved ones around you, it’s pretty lonely.” Bob Batlan admits before his experience with MLF, he wasn’t personally touched by homelessness. The Salvation Army is intimately familiar with that statistic; Jan Gunter, communications and community relations director of SA’s Austin-area command, said 74% of the people they sheltered last year were women and children. “The fastest-growing population of those experiencing homelessness in Austin right now is women and children,” said Gunter. “You don’t see them out on the streets, so the public is not aware of them. But they’re there, and they’re on our waiting list, and they’re living in our shelters, and they’re struggling in this economy to make things work.” Salvation Army serves about 400 people a day.

Like MLF, Gunter said the sign-up sheet for volunteers filled up in October. “The volunteer opportunity is always filled up way early,” she said. “Whether that’s a single mom with her children, and there’s another mom there with her children, and the kids are playing together,” said Gunter, “that’s their holiday. Driving by later with her grandson on an unrelated errand, she went back and knocked again. “And they had gone to church, and they had come home,” Guzman said. “The lady was so happy, she said, ‘Oh, we thought we missed y’all. I came back to ensure you got your food.’ That was a good experience for me and my grandson.” Another experience that sticks out is when she and her grandson delivered meals to a retired teacher who always wanted to shake Isaiah’s hand.

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