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News New Tarrant County program to serve seniors during COVID-19 crisis

New Tarrant County program to serve seniors during COVID-19 crisis

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Paul Harral
Paul is a lifelong journalist with experience in wire service, newspaper, magazine, local and network television and digital media. He was vice president and editor of the editorial page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and editor of Fort Worth, Texas magazine before joining the Business Press. What he likes best is writing about people in detail and introducing them to others in the community. Specific areas of passion are homelessness, human trafficking, health care and aerospace.

Meals On Wheels of Tarrant County has teamed with United Way and Area Agency on Aging of Tarrant County, Tarrant County, Tarrant Area Food Bank and Catholic Charities Fort Worth to create a way to provide food to Tarrant County senior citizens.

The program launched April 14 to address food insecurity among a vulnerable population section, the organizations said in a news release.

The food will be delivered by Catholic Charities, which has an extensive transportation operation as part of its mission.

Individuals age 60 and up and a spouse who do not have enough food to eat during the COVID-19 outbreak or who are experiencing a reduced level of nutritional support from families and friends may receive supplemental food through the new program.

Program participants will receive a weekly home delivery of five frozen meals (per person) from Meals On Wheels of Tarrant County and a 10-pound box of senior-friendly canned goods and fresh produce from Tarrant Area Food Bank.

Non-profits in Tarrant County and North Texas long have been willing to cooperate with each other to expand services, but the COVID-19 outbreak has raised that willingness to a new level.

Julie Butner, president and CEO of Tarrant Area Food Bank said it was an “unprecedented collaboration between three community cornerstones to serve shut-in seniors in need.”

“When TAFB called and said they had an idea, we jumped on board. We have the second largest transportation fleet next to The T (Trinity Metro), and yet most of our rides are nearly empty due to the shelter in place requirements,” said Catholic Charities Fort Worth President & CEO Michael P. Grace. “This is a perfect opportunity for us to work with these incredible powerhouse nonprofits to pivot and employ our vehicles to take the food where it is most needed.”

Carla Jutson, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels said the collaboration is an example of the level of service and compassion within the community.

“I am delighted that we can leverage the strengths of these individual organizations into a collaborative effort that will provide lifesaving meals to seniors in need during this crisis. This is just another reason that we say Tarrant County is such a caring place to grow old,” Jutson said.

Leah King, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County, said her organization is grateful for its long relationship with Meals on Wheels and other organizations involved, and “applaud their efforts to ensure our elderly population receives nutritional meals during this time.”

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said area organizations have been participating on a call planning response to the emergency.

“This is a perfect example of how different agencies on this call have gotten together and developed solutions for not only our current needs, but also anticipating needs that will arise in the coming weeks,” he said.

The announcement said client referrals should be made to Meals On Wheels of Tarrant County online at mealsonwheels.org (click on “Refer A Client” at the top of the homepage) or by calling (817) 336-0912

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