Williamson and Burnet Counties (located in Central Texas) are not exactly known as the ideal winter vacation spot if you are looking for skiing or snowboarding. We typically get 2-3 freezes per year that last 3-4 days but overall we have mild winters.
We share this little weather report because a local Meals on Wheels recipient mentioned to us how she has a window air conditioner and fans to help keep her cool in the severe summer heat we experience here in Central Texas, but she when it gets cold she has nothing but blankets, no heat. We realized, while providing Meals on Wheels, that soup would be a great “extra” that is easily prepared and would help warm seniors form the inside out when we experience more chilly weather.
The Soup for Seniors drive set a lofty goal of gathering 5,000 cans of soup during one week in December with the idea of “Sharing the Love” as part of the Subaru Share The Love annual event. Although we did not reach our 5,000 cans, we did collect over 2,000 cans of soup that have already been distributed and continue to be sent to homes of needy seniors who are grateful and healthier when those colder Texas days occur.
It’s the season of giving. And cooking. And giving away the cooking.
During Thanksgiving week, the Leander VFW Post 10427 fed more than 700 people with donated turkeys, potatoes, pies and more as part of Operation Turkey. With help from volunteer preppers and drivers, hundreds of local Meals on Wheels clients, Head Start families and Veterans received special holiday meals.
VFW Operation Turkey Director Christine McCarty is a VFW member and Meals on Wheels volunteer. She organized the event, which included signing up families for weeks ahead of time, arranging hundreds of pounds of donated food; and coordinating the cooking, prep work and packaging to make it all happen in a single day.
Cedar Park businessman and VFW member Joey Smith provided the smoking skills to cook 200 turkeys in a single morning.
Smith is a competitive cooker who spends a lot of his free time giving back by cooking—his food truck can cook 27 turkeys at a time in about 2-1/2 hours. He is looking forward to getting his new truck, which will handle 60.
He frequently supports non-profits and charity events and travels to disaster areas to help feed emergency workers. “We love to cook and we love to give back to the community. This is what I do instead of playing golf. My wife and I run the truck and my friends take off work every year to be here and help us get the turkeys ready. With all the sponsors we have been able to work with, I am able to feed a person for $1 so a $20 donation will feed 20 people.” (JoesCookShack.com)
McCarty says the VFW has been providing the meals for three years, and they have doubled their meals each year. “Just over 100 Meals on Wheels clients will receive a fully-cooked hot Thanksgiving lunch, which our volunteers will deliver over nine different routes. Then tonight, we have Head Start families and other local families in need who come to us through Hill Country Ministries and pick up a whole, cooked turkey and all the fixings to take home and prepare their own meal.”
The VFW has been collecting donations of cash and food since September to prepare for the big day. Cash donations purchased the turkeys and Joe’s Cookshack did the cooking in a matter of hours. On top of that, HEB helped the helpers by donating a full lunch for all the volunteers working to feed others.
VFW Commander Dave Walden said, “This would not have happened without Christine. Christine epitomizes what our organization stands for and she is are a shining example of our great organization.”
Annually, 2.1 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliary contribute more than 11 million hours of volunteerism in the community, including participation in Make A Difference Day and National Volunteer Week.
Middle school student Tristen Pride is and part of a group called "10 at a Time". This group of ten students gathers monthly to collect $10 each and then donate $100 to a charity. They take turns choosing the charity and Tristen chose Opportunities Meals on Wheels. He and his mother (his sister was present as well) presented Senior Nutrition Director Denise Schilli with a $100 bill. What great generosity!
Ten at a Time was honored by Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross last year for their creativity and willingness to contribute to their community.
What a great week! Meals on Wheels of Williamson & Burnet Counties welcomed dozens of community leaders, elected officials, first responders and first-time volunteers as part of our 2016 March for Meals Champions celebration. Site directors sent out hundreds of invitations to encourage new faces to drive with volunteers for lunch deliveries all over our two counties. Some residents in Taylor even had theirs delivered by fire truck!
Each of our special guests signed a "Why" statement to share their personal stories and testimonials in honor of loved ones and autographed a canvas that will be on permanent display in their respective centers. Participants in the congregant meals took advantage of the opportunities to take photo and visit with police officers, council members, mayors and even our most special VIP, Spike from the Round Rock Express.
March for Meals is a national program and we were able to share in the campaign with many local events as well as our Champions days. Many thanks to Denise Schilli and Lauren Andrews for all their planning and preparation, as well as our site directors who planned special routes and facilitated special visits for our beloved senior clients. Already looking forward to March 2017.
Meals on Wheels received more than 70 donations in 24 hours as part of Amplify Austin, a day of giving for hundreds of non-profits and charities in the region. Our one-day total was $6031 and we are looking forward to more in matching donations from St. David's and members of our Board of Directors. Senior Nutrition Program Director Denise Schilli and Development Director Lauren McAndrews hit the streets all day March 8 to generate some visibility for the campaign and encourage shoppers at retail locations as well as the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Meals on Wheels of Georgetown had a record fundraising breakfast at Applebee's of Georgetown last Saturday. Center Director Deanna Shanklin reports raising—with nearly 300 tickets sold—over $2000 (after expenses) from the Flapjack Fundraiser.
The restaurant was filled for nearly two hours and guests enjoyed pancakes, eggs, bacon, juice and potatoes. Many thanks to Applebee's for their support and the many who came out to share breakfast and future meals for Georgetown neighbors.
Bertram's country/gospel music group Brooks Crossings, brainstormed and helped organize a family-friendly concert fundraiser for Opportunities for Williamson & Burnet Counties Meals on Wheels program.
On August 22, about 60 guests gathered at the Seriff Center in Marble Falls to enjoy a Meals on Wheels menu, prepared by MOW chef Debi Davis and her crew. Patrons enjoyed the fabulous food and good music and donated generously to the Burnet County senior nutrition program..
Singer Misty Crow also scoured the countryside for sponsors and donors for a silent auction that went on concurrent with the meal and the concert. Proceeds will support purchasing and operations for the Burnet County congregate centers and home delivery, which total approximately 25,000 meals each year.
Subaru of Georgetown held a food drive June 1-30 as part of "The Subaru Love Promise" and today delivered two brand new trash cans for our Meals on Wheels sites—filled with food! Our program uses USRDA menus but Bagdad Center Manager Denis Schilli says the food is a blessing for those every-now-and-then moments when someone comes in from the street hungry and would just like something to eat.
Over the length of the partnership, Subaru of America has provided Meals on Wheels America the funding to support the delivery of nearly 1 million meals. Our thanks go out to Subaru of Georgetown and especially Sales Manager Daniel Wolfenstein for making it happen.
We are looking for delivery drivers at our Taylor site. Located in the Taylor Senior Citizens Center at 410 W 7th Street.
Volunteers for regular routes and substitute drivers are needed for Monday through Friday deliveries. As a driver, you need only arrive at the Center site for a delivery shift that requires about 90 minutes. Volunteers are at least 18 years old, have a valid driver’s license and insurance card, and must be able to pass a background check.
For more information or to sign up, call Taylor program manager Verna Guajardo at 512-352-5539.