Food insecurity continues to be a growing and important issue across Houston. The pandemic has shined a light on some of the most vulnerable areas in the community.
Interfaith Ministries Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston and Galveston County provides approximately 4,900 home-delivered meals every day.
“Our first priority when COVID began to affect Houston over a year ago was to make sure the seniors had continued access to food,” said the chief development officer for Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, Maria Magee. “Early on, we consulted with our friends at the Texas Medical Center to determine the best way to move forward.”
Magee said the non-profit made the decision to pivot from daily hot meals to weekly frozen meals for seniors faced with food insecurity and social isolation. The non-profit says the meals and routine check-ins have been a lifeline for many seniors.
Maria Cervantes said that she has had relief knowing that the deliveries were coming over the past year.
“Sometimes I can go and get the free stuff at the church, and sometimes I can’t, so I just really appreciate everything I get from Meals on Wheels,” said Cervantes.
Magee said that the need for services continues to grow.
“During the height of the pandemic, we had a waiting list of close to 400 seniors during the pandemic, but thanks to community support, we were able to move those seniors off of the waiting list and start delivering meals to them,” said Magee.
The social interaction with the drivers is also an important element. Geoff Newby is a driver for Meals on Wheels and he said he does his best to inquire with care and concern.
“I just try to interact like they are family,” said Newby. “I ask if they are doing ok and if the family doing ok.”
After briefly going back to hot meal deliveries, the non-profit has reverted to frozen meals for the time being due to rising concerns over the Delta variant. Magee said that Meals on Wheels will continue to work to help those in need and hope for better days ahead.
“I have a lot of hope and I see a lot of hope and inspiration all around us working in this sector,” she said.
If you know a senior that needs food assistance or you would like more information, visit the website.