Texas ranks seventh for hunger risk among seniors, showing the drastic need for services like Senior Connect.
“Our service is simple: We feed people, said Melinda Polk, Senior Connect executive director. “But it is more than a meal; it’s a daily well-check, it’s contact with a person, it’s keeping people independent and in their homes.”
Serving Kaufman and Navarro counties, Senior Connect provides meals for the elderly at senior centers or delivered to homes through Meals on Wheels.
They serve about 2,000 individuals within both counties. Last year, Senior Connect served a total of about 199,000 meals delivering about 130,000 of those. Meals are served five days a week, breakfast and lunch in person at senior centers, and lunch for Meals on Wheels.
Still, the need outweighs the supply. There are about 60 elderly on the waiting list for meals.
“I would love to serve everybody on the waiting list, but we just don’t have the means to do so,” Polk said.
Senior Connect prioritizes this waiting list by need. Those who are on hospice or terminally ill will be served no matter what, while some others have to continue to wait.
Since its start in 1978, Senior Connect has been funded through the Older Americans Act (1965). Funding is determined by the productivity for the past two years, but as the population continues to grow, Senior Connect has a hard time keeping up with the need. Only about 70 percent of the community in need can be served from the federal funding. That leaves a lot to be funded through grants and community generosity.
“We need to do better for our seniors. And we can, because partners like Trinity Valley Electric Co-op Charitable Foundation are making that possible for Senior Connect,” Polk said.
Other organizations receiving grants from the TVEC Charitable Foundation include:
Jake E’s Riding Round Up – $2,000
The Refuge at Cedar Creek Lake – $2,000
The Share Center (Terrell) – $3,500
Living Alternatives of Palestine – $1,500
United Way of East/Central Texas – $1,000