BALLINGER – On Wednesday, recipients of Meals on Wheels in Ballinger received a special delivery when Congressman Mike Conaway knocked on the doors of half a dozen clients to personally deliver their lunch.

BALLINGER – On Wednesday, recipients of Meals on Wheels in Ballinger received a special delivery when Congressman Mike Conaway knocked on the doors of half a dozen clients to personally deliver their lunch.

Conaway, who represents Runnels County in the 11th District, traveled to Ballinger to make the deliveries to the clients who now receive the lunches provided by Meals on Wheels Plus of Abilene which took over the senior meal program in October.

Meals on Wheels serves 112 clients in Runnels County, which includes clients in Ballinger, Winters and Rowena. Meals for the Elderly of San Angelo serves clients in Miles.

Conaway and representatives from Meals on Wheels and volunteers, met at First United Methodist Church and then made the deliveries.

“This program is vital to 112 people in Runnels County,” Conaway said. “It is human contact and it is people taking care of each other.

Conaway visited briefly with the clients, like Delphine Rodriguez.

“Are you doing alright? Can we do anything for you?” he asked her.

“No, I am fine,” she told him, and with that, he delivered her meal.

Later he stopped at the home of Mary Ann Bocanegra, 57, who is bedbound with crippling arthritis. Bocanegra said she so appreciated the meals and the visit from the volunteer each day.

Bocanegra told Conaway she appreciated him after he handed the meal to her husband Albert.

Executive Director Betty Bradley, who accompanied Conaway on the deliveries, told Bocanegra she was “glad we are delivering to you.”

The last stop was the home of Petra Sauceda, who when he asked how she was, told the congressman that she had been ill with the flu.

“Is there anything we can do for you? Anyone we can call?,” Conaway asked her.

“I have home health coming later,” Sauceda told him.

Conaway commented that delivering the meals helps put everything in perspective.

“It puts in to perspective whatever may be happening in your own life,” he said. “It is fulfilling and rewarding to deliver the meals. Plus it great to know this program is run by a wonderful woman like Betty, who believes this program is a mission from God.”

While some of the meals are funded through Title XX funds, through the federal government, more than half are not. That is why Bradley, says it is so important that the communities that are served, help support the program.

Bradley said it was an honor to deliver meals with Conaway.

“It was a great honor to be able to give Congressman Conaway a view of how tax dollars (Title XX) leverage local funding and volunteers to meet a need,” Bradley said. “I was most impressed by his concern for the people who receive meals and his interest in the services provided by Meals on Wheels.”

Other community members who went along for the delivery included Runnels County Judge Barry Hilliard, MOW Administrator Melody Gallant and Rob Chastain, development director for MOW.

Currently Meals on Wheels receives about $56,500 in Title XX funds to provide home delivered meals in Runnels County, Bradley explained. Of the 112 clients in Runnels County, only 46 are paid for through Title XX funds. The Title XX funds provide $4.95 for each meal and it costs $7.51 for each meal served.

“We have to raise the matching funds,” Bradley said.

Without Title XX funding and financial and volunteer support by the citizens of Runnels County we might not be able to provide meals to frail individuals in Runnels County,” Bradley said. “We welcome donations from individuals, groups and businesses. Those gifts make it possible for people who live in Ballinger, Winters, Rowena and Miles and who cannot prepare balanced meals for themselves to have a freshly prepared meal five days a week.”

Currently, plans are underway for a Meals on Wheels Benefit Concert event to be held in May with all proceeds to benefit the organization.

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.

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

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.

Meals are delivered Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For more information or to volunteer call Administrator Melody Gallant at 325-280-0042 in Ballinger or Administrator Lupe Vasquez at 325-665-9341 in Winters or call Meals on Wheels Plus in Abilene at 325-672-5050.