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Mobile Meals in need of volunteers

April 4, 2012

A program which provides meals for elderly, home-bound Big Spring residents has put out a call for volunteers.

Mobile Meals, a private, non-profit organization, currently delivers noon meals for between 60 and 70 people a day, but officials said more help is needed.

“We currently have 17 volunteers,” said Mobile Meals President Stan Feaster. “It's a commitment on their part, and they consider it a privilege to serve on one of those routes … but we really need volunteers. If we don't have enough drivers on a certain day, (Program Director Macaria Cantu) has to go out on a route, and she has enough to do as it is.”

Cantu said the program is designed to help homebound Big Spring residents over the age of 60 (the program does not deliver outside the city limits).

Scenic Mountain Medical Center prepares the meals each morning Monday through Friday, then route drivers deliver the meals by noon, she said.

“Every morning, I go to Scenic Mountain with a list of all the meals I need,” Cantu said. “The hospital then prepares the meals under the dietitian's supervision — we have special meals for people with diabetes or those who require a low-salt meal, for example — and then I package them for delivery.”

Past President Jerry Grimes estimated annual costs at around $70,000.

“We're a non-profit organization funded entirely by private donations,” Grimes said. “The primary source of our funds is from the Dora Roberts Foundation and the United Way, with the remainder coming from individuals.”

Cantu is the only paid program staffer. Overhead costs are at a minimum, thanks to the city of Big Spring, which donated office space at the local senior center, Grimes said.

The rest of the money the organization raises goes entirely to buying meals, he added (volunteer drivers must pay for their gasoline).

Cantu said the organization provides a vital service to the community.

“Very few of the people we help have family or friends in town who could help them, and we have some folks who don't have anyone at all,” she said. “For some, our volunteers are the only people they see all day, so we're providing a lot more than just food to these people.”

To volunteer or apply for the program, contact Cantu at 263-4016.

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