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Meals on Wheels needs your help packing emergency food kits for seniors

"The situation is very fluid and it's changing by the minute," Ali Al Sudani with Interfaith Ministries said. "We don't want to wait for the last minute."

HOUSTON — Meals on Wheels is racing to stock its reserves with thousands of emergency food kits. More than 4,300 senior citizens, who range in age from 60 to more than 100 years old, rely on the weekly food delivery. 

As the situation involving COVID-19 evolves, the organization wants to make sure seniors don't go hungry.

Ali Al Sudani, who is the chief programs officer for Interfaith Ministries — the organization that runs Meals on Wheels— said the group is now operating just like it would during an emergency.

"The situation is very fluid, and it's changing by the minute," Al Sudani said. "We don't want to wait for the last minute to prepare."

He explained that usually the organization's emergency operation, which is dubbed: Operation IMpact, distributes emergency food supplies in May or June, ahead of hurricane season. 

The purpose is to equip all of our Meals on Wheels seniors with shelf-stable food in case a storm prevents volunteer drivers from making their regular deliveries. 

In case the virus impacts deliveries, seniors will have a supply of emergency food now that can also be used for hurricane season. 

Moving up the delivery date has added significant costs to the project, which will take $60,000 to execute. 

Pet food is included for seniors with pets, but the way the delivery is handled, has changed. Volunteers now use hand sanitizer before and after interacting with the seniors. 

"Usually, the seniors, they would like to hug or welcome or shake hands, but we remind them to be careful. No handshake. No hugging. Just tell them that these are the meals and we care about you and check on them and then report to us if they notice any change in the condition of the seniors."

Want to help? Click here to learn how to volunteer or donate

Al Sudani said the organization will need help packing meal kits during the week of March 16th. Call 713-533-4900 to volunteer.

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