Meals and Weather Assistance for Seniors

The recent extreme heat and the current heavy rains are especially dangerous for the elderly and shut-ins. As Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports, TXU Energy is partnering with Meals on Wheels to get information and resources directly into the hands of those who are at risk.

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Meals on Wheels drivers are on the frontlines when it comes to helping their clients stay safe during severe weather. Interfaith Ministries Spokeswoman Lou Keels says low-income seniors are among the most vulnerable people in the population because they often can't get to safety -- whether that be high ground or a place with air conditioning.

"Just in the last month alone we've had five of our drivers who have gone to the home of a senior and found that senior in a life-threatening situation. That Meals on Wheels driver was able to get there, contact the police, ambulance and other authorities, contact family members as well to make sure that senior gets the care that they need as soon as they need."

Keels says 4,500 seniors are enrolled in the Meals on Wheels program and many of them don't have air conditioning or transportation. So TXU Energy approached Interfaith Ministries to ask if they could help provide heat and storm safety packages along with the meal deliveries.

[Knocking]"Meals on Wheels! Yes? Hi. Hi, I'm with TXU Energy and we're so proud to be partnering with Meals on Wheels today. We have a storm safety preparedness kit as well as some energy conservation information for you. So we want to make sure that you're well prepared to make it through the storm season as well as the summer season, so thank you very much. Well thank you. See you tomorrow."

TXU Spokeswoman Kim Campbell says the partnership with Meals on Wheels is an efficient way for them to get information directly into the hands of the seniors.

"We want them to be prepared before the event, during the event, and after the event. So before the event you would want someone to make sure they listen to the news alerts, you know be aware of the impending storm like we have today. Also we want them to unplug their electrical appliances. You need to have a plan of action in place, so you want to plan accordingly, you want to have a preparedness kit and your medication. You need to make sure you're prepared in case you have to evacuate your home."

As part of the partnership, TXU is donating $12,000 to Meals on Wheels, which will provide a year's worth of meals for ten seniors on the waiting list. Another 600 people remain on that waiting list. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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