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A major storm is brewing on the horizon

The perfect storm is brewing on the horizon, and every day it edges closer and closer to Fort Bend County, and is expected to hit full force this summer. The majority of those in the storm’s wake are the frail elderly.

One part of the storm slated to hit is rising gas prices and this summer they are forecasted to hit $4+ a gallon, which means volunteers who deliver meals to shut-in seniors, for Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels, may begin finding it hard to afford the gas needed to deliver the meals. If volunteers do arrive to deliver meals, they are beginning to ask to deliver fewer meals, which means additional volunteers are needed.

“Another part of the storm is when volunteers do not show-up to deliver meals, our staff drivers are asked to cover those routes and they are on the clock, which raises our administrative cost. If this continues then we will have to decrease the number of meals to be delivered to cover the additional administrative costs and seniors in need can not be added,” said Manuela H. Arroyos, CEO, Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels.

The third part of the storm is rising gas prices means higher food costs. When food prices rise, it makes it difficult for a two-income family to make ends meet, much less a senior citizen living alone and who is trying to make ends meet with only their social security check. Yet, with Fort Bend Seniors providing meals so the seniors their social security check are able to stretch further and they have a better chance of staying in their homes for as long as possible, evading homelessness. Food and fuel are the foundation of the Meals on Wheels program, according to Arroyos.

“All of those on the Meals on Wheels program receive so many benefits, including all that our partners in the community offer such as fans in the summer, heaters in winter, holiday gifts, case management, health checks, referrals, home repairs, house keeping for those fighting cancer, and so much more,” Arroyos said.

“Senior citizens being provided meals on our program, allows them to remain in their homes. Otherwise, they might have to go into a nursing home, but the only kind of home they could afford would be a Medicare funded home. The cost for one senior moving into a nursing home is approx. $38,000 per year, per senior citizen, again, that Texas taxpayers cover. With Fort Bend Seniors providing meals to over 1,400 seniors a day, we are saving Texas taxpayers $53,200,000 annually. The cost of a daily meal, $6, is much less than the cost of 24/7 care in a nursing home,” Arroyos said.

“All of these pieces of the storm are coming together and I’ll have to say it is worrisome, and we are working very hard to raise additional funds to help prevent this storm doing too much damage to our programs. We have a couple of events coming up, such as the Mad Hatter Spring Luncheon and Fashion Show and the Groovy Party, both of which will help, so we hope the community will take a moment and consider attending one of these events,” Arroyos said.

Also, Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels is asking our community to consider purchasing one meal for a senior citizen a month, until gas prices begin coming down, that is just $6, which may not sound like much but when combined with all donations it means our elderly will be assured a meal throughout the summer.

Those interested in purchasing a meal for a senior citizen, please visit the website at www.fortbendseniors.org or mail checks to Fort Bend Seniors, P. O. Box 1488, Rosenberg, Texas 77471, or call 281-633-7052 for credit card donations or email www.kweiss@fortbendseniors.org. For event information, please visit www.fortbendseniors.org, upcoming events.

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