From our sister agency, Meals on Wheels Central Texas

An alarming number of Texans remain homeless after Hurricane Harvey carved a path of destruction along the Texas coast; the City of Austin expects 7,000 Harvey evacuees to fill its emergency shelters.  Meals on Wheels Central Texas is working with partner organizations to provide life-sustaining services to these neighbors in need. We are also assisting Meals on Wheels programs that serve the communities hit hardest by the storm. At the same time, we will continue to provide our nutritious meals and other vital services to 3,000 homebound Central Texans every day.

As I watched the recent heart-rending tragedy in Texas unfold, two things struck me. One, the amazing responses of nonprofit organizations from the Red Cross to the tiniest of churches that mobilized to help the hurricane victims.  People of good will came together to make a difference in the lives of those suffering.  Take a look at the below image from the Daily Telegraph; it depicts Houstonians, some who were directly impacted by the hurricane, lining up to volunteer. A truly inspiring sight.

My second thought was how vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities are.  For people who are food insecure, even the sunniest of days is a crisis if they do not receive their meal delivery.  Our programs make sure they eat and live independent.

If we have learned anything from Hurricane Harvey is that it is equally important to prepare for the worst, for those less-than-sunny days, when Chicago winds blow cold and snowy, making the streets impassable.

I am proud that Meals on Wheels Chicago, as part of our strategic plan, has launched a program to provide shelf-stable emergency meals for those times of need.  This is an ambitious endeavor as a day of home-delivered meals costs tens of thousands of dollars.  Of course, this is something that we will build capacity over the span of several years.  This year, our plans call for the delivery of one emergency meal to seniors and people with disabilities.  It is a small step, but one of vital importance during a blizzard.  I have no doubt, working together, with current and future partners, we will achieve this ambitious goal of providing life-sustaining meals in good times and bad.

Thank you for your important role of helping our homebound and food-insecure neighbors remain independent.