One Meal at a Time

There's still no power at Interfaith Ministries. That's the organization that runs Houston Meals on Wheels. But the parking lot is full and they're actually turning away volunteers, because so many people have shown up to help.

Betsy Gerdeman is their vice president of community engagement. She says more than 3,500 senior citizens rely on them for meals.

"Prior to Hurricane Ike and prior to Hurricane Gustav, we provided them our last day of delivery before the storm with five days of shelf-stable food in the event that we could not get back to them."

It turned out to be a fortunate thing they left that extra food. Volunteers weren't able to resume meal deliveries until Tuesday morning.

"On Tuesday in the first wave of deliveries, there were a number of volunteers who reported to us that they had to circumvent certain streets and find other ways to get in. But there was never a time when they could not get in at all. Even if they had to walk down the street to deliver, they found a way to get to the seniors."

About 75 percent of the seniors were home, riding out the storm.

"Some of them were scared. And we had told them that if they were scared, whether they have medical needs or not, if they're frail and alone and they're homebound we would get help to them through other sources."

And for the most part, the seniors didn't have any serious medical needs arise.

But Gerdeman says it's literally a day-to-day process to restore their food supply chain and protect the health of Houston's homebound seniors.

"But until then every day is going to be a decision on what do we need to do for our seniors for tomorrow to make sure that they're taken care of."

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Tags: News, Weather


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