Tarrant County

Fighting Hunger: Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County Projects Population Growth to Impact Need

Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County projects a 75% increase in need over the next 15 years to keep up with population growth

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Every morning, the kitchen at Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County is busy cooking and packing meals for the day.

"Hunger does not discriminate," said Keith Harrison, Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County marketing and communications manager. "As a whole, I don't know that we're really good at taking care of one another like we used to, and so Meals on Wheels makes sure all the pieces fall into place. It's all about people helping people."

A volunteer who's worked with Meals on Wheels in Arlington said he's learned to expect the unexpected.

"It's amazing what you find out about people that you would have never guessed just meeting them at the door," volunteer Lou Blum said. "You get to know them."

There are 5,200 volunteers in Tarrant County, serving 1 million meals a year. That need is projected to increase by 75% over the next 15 years with population growth and an aging population.

"Well, I've always said I wanted to live to be 100. I'm going to try for it," Meals on Wheels client Marie Short said. This week she'll turn 98 years old. "When I lost my sight I couldn't read anymore. Then I couldn't drive anymore."

Short said she can't read a recipe anymore, and relies on help to grocery shop. Meals on Wheels isn't just food for her. It's company, too. She's one of the stops on Blum's route.

"I know you're just delivering a meal and talking to them for an instant," Blum said. "But you get to know so much."

Money isn't the only reason people go hungry in North Texas.

"If you get to the point where you don't have the physical strength to stand in the kitchen and cook a meal, or you're not able to get out of your home to go buy food, you're at risk of hunger," Harrison said.

"If no one else comes to see me during the day, they're going to come. I know they'll be here," Short said. "You guys and girls out there that are doing nothing in the morning, why don't you volunteer to help out here? We need you desperately!"

Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County is looking for 70 new volunteers to fill 42 open routes and start six new routes. To help, click here.

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