The number of clients are up, and the need for funding is growing for the senior meals program in Runnels County, which is primarily operated by Meals on Wheels Plus of Abilene.

The number of clients are up, and the need for funding is growing for the senior meals program in Runnels County, which is primarily operated by Meals on Wheels Plus of Abilene.

Executive Director Betty Bradley gave an update and progress report on the program during the Ballinger Noon Lions Club, Thursday, May 4. During her recap, Bradley stressed the importance of raising funding for the program highlighted by the Music for Meals benefit slated for Saturday, May 13 at the parish hall at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

Cyndi McConnell, who chairs the Music for Meals event, informed the members on ticket locations, sponsorships and how to submit items for the live auction.

The organizations began providing meals on Oct. 3, 2016, after the county ended funding for the senior meals program.

“It was an administrative burden and a financial hardship for Runnels County,” Bradley said.

Bradley, who has been with the non-profit organization since 1975, said the program has grown from its humble beginnings at 80 meals a day, to now serving over 1,100 meals a day to clients in Abilene and the communities of Potosi, Hamby, Hodges and to Ballinger, Winters, Miles and Rowena in Runnels County.

Bradley said since MOW has been serving Runnels County, the client list has grown, but funding has not. Initially, there were 60 clients, and now that has more than doubled.

Meals on Wheels Plus provides meals for 126 clients in Ballinger, Winters, Rowena and Miles. Meals For The Elderly of San Angelo provides six meals for clients in Miles.

Over the past seven months, Title XX funding from the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services provides funding at $4.95 per meal for about 48 clients. That leaves a considerable gap in the funding. Meals cost $7.51 each, and those meals are not covered by Title XX funding.

Bradley stressed that MOW in Abilene has been supplementing funding, since the Runnels County program continues to grow.

“We supplemented what came in by $6,000 a month,” Bradley said. “We serve them (new clients) with the faith that the funding will come in. Anything you can do to help with that is greatly appreciated.”

Bradley stressed that the Music for Meals event is a fund raiser to help with those budgetary constraints and that all proceeds from the event, will be dedicated to fund Runnels County meals. So far, the Music for Meals event, featuring guitarist Brad Davis and Tom Glosup, who are donating their talents, has raised some funding from major sponsors like Buddy’s Plant Plus, GPS Insurance of Winters, Brotherton Foods & Produce Co., Alvarez, Sweetwater Steel and CPS Insurance/Germania Insurance of Winters.

She added that this is the first fund raiser, and the plans are to make the Music for Meals an annual event.

“It is important to have the support of Runnels County,” Bradley said.

In January, a Sterling Robertson of Abilene, donated a van to be used for the delivery of Runnels County meals. And now, Bradley said, the meals must be delivered with the van, because the number of meals has grown significantly in four months.

“Meals on Wheels provides meals to persons age 60 or over, or age 18 -59 and up to 60 that has one or more disabilities or who cannot prepare meals themselves,” Bradley said. “It can also be temporary – while a person is recovering from surgery or an illness.”

Clients have a choice of two entrees each day. Each week the clients will receive a cards in the mail with a return envelope, which they fill out and return to Meals on Wheels with their weekly selections. The meals include salad, entrée, vegetables, dessert and a drink.

“The reason I want to serve more meals? To me this is a ministry, an outreach of my faith,” Bradley said. “I don’t want anyone to go hungry who is not able to prepare balanced meals for themselves.”

To sign up for Meals on Wheels Plus, call 325-672-5050 to make an appointment for a home visit. You may also visit Meals on Wheels Plus by going to http://mealsonwheelsplus.com/.