Meals on Wheels Plus executive director, Betty Bradley, said that the recent Music on Wheels fundraiser at St. Josephs parish hall in Rowena was a resounding success. Funds from the event go to support the almost 42,000 meals delivered to 160 elderly people in Runnels County every year. The event had the Texas blues band, Crossfire, performing to a packed parish hall.

 Hundreds of people showed up from Runnels County, San Angelo and Abilene to support the fundraiser and bid in the live auction, bid on silent auction items and purchase pastries, breads and cakes. The energy was palatable throughout the parish hall with people lined up to bid on silent auction items and browse the items that would be in the live auction. Crossfire was a hit and took the energy level up a few notches, with attendees of all ages dancing and enjoying the music and festive atmosphere.

 Bradley wrote to the newspaper:

“If you missed the Runnels County Music for Meals fund raiser in Rowena Saturday, August 3rd, you missed out on a fun, family event. This was the third year Meals For The Elderly in San Angelo and Meals on Wheels Plus in Abilene worked with an awesome group of Runnels County volunteers to raise funds so frail, at-risk individuals in Runnels County can be served. A grilled pork loin dinner, with banana pudding for dessert, was prepared and served by dedicated volunteers who braved the heat to grill the pork loin. A live auction kicked off at 6:30 p.m. while some of the items in the silent auction items had “bidding wars” going on. The auctioned items brought in an amazing $10,000! That was followed by an evening of dancing, free beer and visiting as the Country Blues Band Crossfire performed many old favorites. During the evening there was a drawing for a rifle, won by Lance Gully, and a 12 Gauge shotgun, won by Mark Hoffschneider. When the evening drew to a

close, over $35,000 had been raised. Special thanks go to the committee members who spent several months signing up sponsors, selling raffle tickets, collecting items for the auctions and making all the arrangements. We appreciate St. Joseph Catholic Church for allowing us to hold the event in their spacious, air-conditioned Parish Hall. And there just aren’t adequate words to express our appreciation to Steve Halfmann and the volunteers who grilled, cooked and served the delicious dinner. Thank you – thank you.

We also want to thank Tom Glosup and the band Crossfire for once again traveling all the way to Rowena to play for us. Even if you don’t dance it was nice to sit back and just listen. We thank the Rowena 4-H Youth and several other young people for setting up and taking down the tables & chairs in the Parish Hall. The young people also helped serve, cleared tables, etc.

Thank you to everyone who worked at the event in many different capacities. You made it a wonderful evening.

Thank you to all of the businesses, groups and individuals who signed up as sponsors and for donating items for the auctions. Thank you to everyone who bought raffle tickets and attended this special event. We hope you will include the Runnels County Music for Meals event in your plans for next year – as we will be back!

Why is it so important that this event was successful? Each weekday Volunteers from Winters drive to the Meals on Wheels Plus complex at 717 North 10 th Street in Abilene to pick up some140 or so freshly prepared meals. They then drive to First Baptist Church in Winters where Lupe Vazquez, Administrative/Case Manager, and several Volunteers are waiting. The meals to be delivered in Winters are quickly transferred to the volunteer’s cars and delivered on four routes to 65 individuals. One meal is delivered near Pumphrey.

While the Winters Volunteers are loading their cars with meals for delivery, a volunteer from Ballinger is on hand to pick up the meals for delivery in Ballinger, Rowena and Norton. The Ballinger meals are delivered to the 9 th Street Church of Christ where Gene Roggenkamp, Administrative/Case Manager, and Volunteers are waiting for the 68 meals to be delivered in Ballinger, 9 in Rowena and two near Norton.

 Those getting the meals are usually over the age of 65 and at least one is over 100 – and still living alone. However, younger adults with one or more disabilities also qualify for meals. Most of the meal recipients live on a low, fixed income and can’t afford to pay for their meals.

But eligibility is not based on income and those financially able to contribute for their meals are asked to do so. The individual must have a need for the meals and most have multiple health problems.

In addition to delivering a freshly prepared noon meal, the volunteers also check on the wellbeing of each person on their route. Sometimes a Volunteer finds someone on the floor or in distress and calls 911. Since starting delivery of meals into Runnels County on October 3, 2016, Meals on Wheels Volunteers have found two recipients dead in their home in Winters.

Volunteers with a meal are sometimes the only person that frail meal recipient will see all day. That brief contact is as important as the meal.

Each week, Meals For The Elderly located in San Angelo, provides hot meals, frozen meals, breakfast bags, and weekend meals for 21 clients in Miles with the help of Miles volunteers under the direction of Lynn Granzin.  Neither Meals For The Elderly or Meals on Wheels Plus are government or United Way programs and both rely on donations to operate. While the Runnels County Music for Meals event was very successful, it will not cover the cost of delivering meals in Runnels County for an entire year. Contributions by individuals, businesses and groups are always welcomed and greatly appreciated.

If you know someone who could benefit from having home delivered meals in the communities served in Runnels County please let us know. If you would like to contribute at any time, we thank you. Thank you for helping drive away hunger, one meal at a time.

Betty L. Bradley,

Executive Director

Charlyn Ocker,

President & CEO

Meals on Wheels Plus –

Abilene Meals For The Elderly –

San Angelo

(325)672-5050 or (325)655-9200