MEALS ON WHEELS AWARDED CITY’S SENIOR NUTRITION PROGRAM
San Antonio – A proven leader in providing healthy meals to older adults, Meals on Wheels San Antonio was awarded a major contract by the city’s Department of Human Services to serve approximately 700,000 meals a year and up to 2,700 meals daily to adults 60 years and older in San Antonio’s neighborhood senior centers starting in January.
The San Antonio City Council granted the Senior Nutrition Program contract to Meals on Wheels San Antonio at the Oct. 8 council meeting from its current vendor San Antonio-based Selrico Services, Inc. who had the contract since 2004. The one-year contract is valued at $2.46 million with four additional one-year renewal options up to $3.9 million annually. The Senior Nutrition Program is funded by the city and the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services through the Alamo Area Council of Governments, and currently offered at various senior centers throughout the city. Funding for additional years will be subject to performance review and City Council approval of the annual budget. The city has provided the meal program since 1973.
Meals on Wheels’ extensive local experience with senior nutrition for more than 43 years as well as familiarity with monitoring agencies helped it rise to the top of the list of competitors. Through the current program, meals are prepared and delivered through contracted vendors to 52 sites (pre-COVID) in and around San Antonio and must comply with the Federal Senior Nutrition Program grant requirements and Metro Health Food Safety Guidelines. Spouses of adults 60-years and older and children with disabilities are also provided free meals in the Senior Nutrition Program.
“We take great pride in receiving this vote of confidence from the San Antonio City Council,” said Vinsen Faris, CEO of Meals on Wheels San Antonio. “It our mission to serve seniors with both the nourishment and care they deserve. It is especially important during this pandemic to ensure our city’s most vulnerable population receives the specific meals they need, in recipes they enjoy, and wraparound resources that will bolster their quality of life. We are delighted to enrich the Senior Nutrition Program with all we have learned about older San Antonians in the last four decades.”
Competitors for the contract were given points for a variety of criteria. Meals on Wheels had the most points for items, such as having a pristine kitchen, plans to add more vehicles to its operations for meal delivery, and procedures for training and onboarding new staff. Meals on Wheels also demonstrated it will create new resources for the Senior Nutrition Program, including Alzheimer’s/Dementia training, caregiver resources, and help with providing seamless transition to seniors to Homebound Services when necessary.
Since COVID-19, Meals on Wheels’ phone lines have been ringing daily for help. Their home delivery clientele jumped by over 1,200 new clients. Meals on Wheels has also seen an increase in meal requests from nonprofits and counties outside of their typical service area. Today, they prepare and deliver 497 meals each week to three senior centers: GRASP, Kirby and Presa Senior Center. They also deliver 1,045 meals each week to meal delivery programs for McMullen and Medina counties.
In total, over 134,260 extra meals have been delivered to clients since March 14, 2020. Over 16,568 extra meals have been provided to Meals on Wheels Victoria, Rainbow Senior Center at Kronkosky Place in Boerne, Soldier’s Angels, Voices for Veterans, District 2, and to Bihl Haus Arts for the residents of Primrose at Monticello Park Senior Apartments. Additional counties they now serve include Comal, Edwards, Guadalupe, Karnes, Uvalde, and Wilson. Just under 4,000 clients receive regular, home meal delivery. Meals on Wheels San Antonio is one of the last major Texas city Meals on Wheels programs still in operation regularly during the pandemic, delivering meals to client homes as well as adding new clients for services.
Prior to the coronavirus in 2019, it provided over 1 million meals to seniors in Bexar, Atascosa and Frio counties with support from volunteers donating over 53,372 hours to help stock, prepare, and deliver meals. In 2021, Meals on Wheels is slated to break ground on a new 40,000-square-foot-building in Northeast San Antonio, and their programs have expanded over the years to include services such as its Grace Place Alzheimer’s Activity Centers, AniMeals pet food delivery, and its Friendly Visitor senior friendship program.
Meals on Wheels San Antonio (MOWSA) was established in 1977, in conjunction with Grace Place Alzheimer’s Activity Centers under the umbrella nonprofit organization Christian Senior Services. Meals on Wheels San Antonio is a trusted part of the service community. Through public-private partnerships, Meals on Wheels San Antonio volunteers and staff cross more than 3,800 clients' thresholds in Bexar County each weekday to deliver more than a meal. In 2019, 1,021,757 fresh and nutritious meals were delivered in our community. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit typically serves Bexar, Atascosa, and Frio counties. To learn more, visit www.mowsatx.org.