BALLINGER - A van, dedicated to the delivery of meals for the Meals on Wheels program, was delivered to Runnels County Friday and county and community officials expressed extreme gratitude for the donation.

BALLINGER - A van, dedicated to the delivery of meals for the Meals on Wheels program, was delivered to Runnels County Friday and county and community officials expressed extreme gratitude for the donation.

Betty Bradley, executive director of Meals on Wheels Plus of Abilene, delivered the vehicle Friday. The 2004 Chevrolet Ventura Van, will be permanently stationed at the Winters First Baptist Church and may be used by volunteers to deliver meals.

The van was donated by longtime Abilene MOW volunteer Sterling Robertson, who purchased it at auction. The vehicle had just over 70,000 miles on it and is in good running condition, Bradley explained.

Runnels County volunteers had requested that the county provide a van for delivery of the meals.

"This is coming at the perfect time," Bradley said adding that some of the volunteers have small vehicles and have had trouble delivering the meals.

Judge Barry Hilliard said he was very grateful for the donation, as did Pastor Al Brakke of St. John's Lutheran Church who, with the Ministerial Alliance of Winters, oversees the program in Winters.

Bradley said that Robertson, who has been a car dealer, has been very generous in his donations over the years.

"This isn't the first time he has done this," Bradley said. "He has been invaluable to the program."

According to Bradley, there will be two accounts set up to pay for the maintenance and gas on the van, one for Ballinger and one for Winters. The plan is for each of the Ministerial Alliance organizations to contribute $100 a month to the accounts.

Each day, about 100  meals are delivered to First Baptist Church in Winters and then shuttled to the First Baptist Church in Ballinger, where they are delivered by volunteers from local churches in each town. Meals are delivered from San Angelo for clients in Miles and Rowena.

Meals on Wheels Plus took over the home delivered meals program on Oct. 1, after the Runnels County commissioner voted to stop funding the program for the 2016-17 budget year.

Meals on Wheels provides 1,100 meals per day to clients in Abilene, Potosi, Hamby and the Hawley and Hodges area. Meals on Wheels is a private non-profit organization with a 24-member board of directors.

The van was delivered to a meeting held Friday in Ballinger to discuss the upcoming Meals on Wheels Benefit, which is tentatively set for April and will feature Grammy award winning singer/songwriter and guitarist Brad Davis and his partner Tom Glosup.

During the meeting, volunteers discussed the date and location of the event and committees were set up to set up a firm date and location for the event. In addition there will be a food committee and a committee dedicated to public relations and advertising for the event.

Glosup and Davis performed following the meeting, and both said they are excited about the upcoming event.

For information on volunteering or signing up for Meals on Wheels in Runnels County, contact Meals on Wheels Plus in Abilene at 325-672-5050.
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