The country’s unprecedented economic downturn has hit seniors hard. A recent report by Meals on Wheels of America found that only 38-percent of seniors at risk of hunger have incomes below the federal poverty line.
March for Meals is an annual national campaign to raise awareness of senior hunger. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett helped Interfaith Ministries deliver meals to needy seniors at their homes. He says the county pitches in about 90-thousand dollars, but it draws down over a million dollars from the state.
“We’re kind of the seed money for it, if you will. Then that gets the state money flowing and of course we have great corporate sponsors that come in too, which help. But the main thing, from my perspective as county judge, is it let’s us stay in contact with people who have these ongoing needs throughout the year.”
Elliot Gershenson is president of Interfaith Ministries. He says they serve meals to some 46-hundred home-bound seniors in Harris County every weekday.
“There’s a lot of pressure on city, state, federal government, but we believe that this program actually keeps people in their homes, which is much more inexpensive than going into other kinds of housing alternatives. So this money really does leverage savings down the line.”
Meals on Wheels is a home delivered meal program for seniors with limited mobility, through the Harris County Area Agency on Aging, and Interfaith Ministries is the largest provider of services in the Houston area.