|(Seguin) -- Guadalupe County seniors will not be going hungry after all and that's all thanks to an outside partnering neighbor, which has literally stepped up to the plate to ensure that the local Meals on Wheels program continues to serve area residents. Assuming the new role will be the Comal County Senior Citizens Foundation.|
Last month during a Guadalupe County Commissioners Court meeting, The Community Council of South Central Texas (CCSCT), announced that it was ending its Meals on Wheels contract due to a financial strain on the entire agency. The agency had operated the program not just in Guadalupe County but also in Comal, Wilson, Karnes, Frio, Atascosa and McMullen counties.
The Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG), along with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) provided funding to assist agencies such as CCSCT in managing the Meals on Wheels program in the region. Following CCSCT's announcement that it would terminate its contract, AACOG's Aging Services Department mobilized and reached agreements with new partners, ensuring uninterrupted service to needy seniors all through the Alamo area.
Hernan Rozemberg, AACOG's external affairs coordinator, says the organization is appreciative to these groups for taking on the new responsibility of delivering free prepared meals. He says when the contract with CCSCT ended Friday, the new delivery service began immediately on Monday.
"That was the most important thing. What we wanted to ensure that our dear seniors would not go without these meals that they had been accustomed to and that many of them so desperately need so that was our upmost priority and we are really thankful to the Comal County Senior Citizens Foundation for really stepping up filling that void in delivering services," said Rozemberg.
Rozemberg says luckily, the other counties that were also serviced by the CCSCT have also found new partners. He says thanks to this take over of services, 300 area seniors will continue to have a meal. He says of the 300, 100 of the seniors live here in Guadalupe County.
"Even though we are catching up with service, all seven counties that CCSCT previously had are being picked up. The Comal County Senior Citizens Foundation is picking up not just Comal where they are based but also Guadalupe as well as Wilson and Karnes Counties and then, we have Meals on Wheels San Antonio going out of Bexar County for their first time which is really great to see in picking up Frio and Atascosa Counties," said Rozemberg.
The seventh remaining county, McMullen County, decided to continue its program in-house.
Although the program remained in question, Rozemberg says he's pleased that a solution was found. He says the program offers seniors much more than a warm meal.
"The meal as you mentioned is just part of it. It's also about having that human interaction and contact as well as just providing that safety check because a lot of times, these seniors -- the Meals on Wheels driver might be the only person that they see all day believe it or not. So, the driver by just being there and providing the service is able to provide that defacto service check -- safety check -- to make sure that person is okay," said Rozemberg.
Executive Director Ken Lowery said it was an easy sell to his board because there was simply no way they could stand by and see seniors go empty-handed.
"I was saddened by thoughts of so many folks going without meals," said Lowery. "Most of these individuals have no family nearby and their only interaction is with the Meals on Wheels driver. I knew that I could not allow our elderly and disabled friends to go without."
Anyone with questions regarding the program or who are looking to assist the organization with feeding local seniors are asked to contact the Comal County Senior Citizens Foundation at 830-629-4547.