Houston Meals On Wheels program leader speaks out

- "Hello, Miss Parsons! Meals on Wheels, how are you doing today?,” asks Toshiba Robinson, who visits families like the Parsons every weekday for the Interfaith Ministries Meals On Wheels Program.

“Won’t you come in,” Patricia Parsons responds as usual. The couple donated to the program for many years and now receives assistance.

Parsons explains the reason as to why she can no longer cook: “It's hard for me to stand and the cabinets and the stove are the wrong size for me and I have lots of spills."

"It's always good to have folks like you all come in and say hello," says Hugh L. Parsons, Patricia's husband of 60 years.

In the last few days, talks of potential federal budget cuts to the program have some people worried. Robinson, who’s been driving for the organization for more than three years, says, "We need our job just like everyone else needs their job and it's very important because we have to come out here and make the people happy because without seeing us, how are they going to be able to eat each and every day?"

The Interfaith Ministries branch of the program costs $7 million dollars to operate annually. Around $3 million dollars of that is donated by several large organizations like Sysco and Shell.

"I'm afraid we would have to serve less people," says president and chief executive officer of the branch Martin Cominsky. "I believe there are generous companies in the community that help support us and they would give a little bit more, but it's really hard to replace $4 million dollars." 

Over the weekend, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee organized a rally at the location in midtown Houston to bring awareness to a cause she says is very important to her.

"Many times, they are there by themselves and this once-a-day meal, as I said, may be their only meal, but number two, it is an important health check because it's every single day during the week to be able to provide them with this service", says Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

For the Parsons family, they say, if their stop potentially got cut off from the Meals On Wheels program, they would fall back on family, but that it would be difficult for them.

"This can't be happening, something this good and wonderful cannot be cut and I hope I'm right," adds Patricia Parsons.

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