My Dallas kids and grandkids visited with us over Thanksgiving. Early Thursday morning we packed everyone into the car and joined 1,000 volunteers to deliver about 3,500 traditional Thanksgiving meals to home-bound seniors. We delivered meals to four seniors and each time when my grandkids handed over the meal, they were greeted with big smiles.
Making someone smile is almost as important as giving life-saving food. So many seniors, right here in Houston, live alone. For many of them one of IM's drivers is the only outside contact they will have each day. Delivering a meal on Thanksgiving gives a whole new meaning to the word "thankful."
While we delivered I was thinking about LT, one of our long-time Meals on Wheels clients who passed away just about one year ago. He was a tough old guy - who built the house he and his wife lived in for over 50 years until she passed. He lived on for another five years and as he told us many times, Meals on Wheels made it possible for him to live out his final wish - to live in his own home until the day he died.
For almost three years IM has been able to serve every senior who qualifies. But with recent government cutbacks, and an explosion in requests for meals, we are building a waiting list once again. As CEO that's a painful reality, one that likely will continue for some time as government on all levels figure out how to balance their budgets. We are surely thankful for the government money we do get and to the United Way who has supported IM for many years. But even with these funds, we can't serve everyone who needs a meal.
That leaves just folks like you and me, foundations and companies like Shell and Motiva LLC, our lead corporate sponsor, to make up the difference. It costs, on average, about $1,200 a year to feed one senior. We are fortunate that we have many people who sponsor one or more seniors - and belong to the Houston Manna Group. We also have many more who are part of our Servants Heart Group who support IM with monthly sustaining donations. And if you click here, you can see if your company will match your gift.
I know that you are all being overwhelmed with requests for your charitable dollar. There are so many worthy causes. IM's Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston is one of those. I hope you will answer one of our mail pieces or simply click here to learn more how you can help us meet the need.
Simply put, in order to keep up with the demand, we need to go from about 4,500 seniors to about 5,000. So we need to have 500 additional seniors sponsored. In a city the size of Houston, that doesn't sound like too much, does it? I will keep praying.
For All Humanity Luncheon
Today we are honoring Susan and Dan Boggio at our For All Humanity Luncheon. The proceeds will go to support the growing needs in our Refugee Services Department. With as many as 500 refugees coming this year, we need to assure that each one gets off to a great start. We are very thankful that Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church hosted its second Annual Thanksgiving Dinner last Tuesday for about 200 of our newest arrivals. We all had a great time and everyone was thankful for the great meal and friendship. Welcoming the stranger is one of our shared values - and if you want to learn more about how you can help, click here.