Fundraiser benefits Cleveland’s Meals on Wheels program

FILE PHOTO: Maxine Morris (far right) and Kem Kirkham-Arnold with Texas Elite Hospice serve up hot gumbo, potato salad and bread pudding to guests at a fundraiser for Cleveland Senior Citizens Center's Meals for Wheels program on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Joann Young (left) was among those enjoying the lunch. Morris is the director of Cleveland Senior Citizens Center.

Meals on Wheels for Liberty and San Jacinto counties got a much-needed financial boost Tuesday, Nov. 13, from a fundraiser sponsored by Texas Elite Hospice, Pace-Stancil Funeral Home and a host of other local businesses. Volunteers and staff of the Cleveland Senior Citizens Center (CSCC) served up hot gumbo, rice, potato salad and bread pudding throughout the day while live music performed by Cow Patty Daddies and Clifton Donato and the La La Kings entertained guests at the senior center.

“We served approximately 480 people in six hours,” said Kem Kirkham-Arnold with Texas Elite Hospice.

The Cow Patty Daddies perform at a fundraiser Tuesday for the Cleveland Senior Citizens Center.

All money raised by the event through food sales and sponsors will go toward CSCC’s Meals on Wheels Program, which feeds 100 homebound residents in north Liberty County and San Jacinto counties each day.

CSCC Director Maxine Morris says that without these meals, many elderly people would go without any daily contact. Meals on Wheels drivers must have a face-to-face interaction with the elderly resident in order to leave the meals.

“For some elderly residents, they wouldn’t have any food if not for Meals on Wheels. They eat part of it for lunch and save the rest for dinner,” she said.

Every month, Cleveland Senior Citizens Center provides meals to 1,000 aging residents, many home-bound, while only receiving funding for 306.

“It’s a struggle but we make it. We just survive,” said Morris. “I was encouraged yesterday to see so many new people support the citizens center. We had people who have never donated to us before give us donations. The event brought out a new group of supporters.”

Gumbo left over from Tuesday’s fundraiser was used for meals for home-bound residents on Wednesday, Morris said.

“I think they will be happy to have that today,” she said.

In addition to Texas Elite Hospice and Pace-Stancil Funeral Home, the gumbo fundraiser was sponsored by Calvary Baptist Church, Gates Saw, Bluebonnet News, Cleveland Lions Club, Hart RV and Boat Storage, Health Center of Southeast Texas, Cook Construction, Texas Awning, Liberty County EMS, 95.3 KORG, Custom Luxury Pools, Rural Shade Baptist Church, Cleveland Emergency Hospital and Green Bank.

On Thursday, seniors at the Cleveland center will also be treated to a Thanksgiving luncheon. Anyone who wants to pick up a lunch or dine in with local seniors should stop by the Cleveland Senior Citizens Center, 220 Peach Ave., between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Health Center of Southeast Texas is helping to sponsor and serve the Thanksgiving meal. Donations are requested to cover the cost of the meal.

By Vanesa Brashier,

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