12:31 PM

Incoming Freshmen Get a Taste of Community Engagement

A nutritious meal delivered by a friendly face can make a world of difference for elderly, homebound residents and their pets. Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (IM) is making this happen for thousands of its Meals on Wheels recipients living in the Houston area.

On Aug. 9, at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), Interfaith Ministries Meals on Wheels representatives provided great insight for incoming freshman students on the more than 4,000 Houston seniors who heavily rely on its daily meal delivery program, and companion program, aniMeals on Wheels, which feeds their four-legged friends. In addition to learning more about these local programs, students packaged 500 pounds of dog food to be delivered to seniors' pets.

"Preparing and bagging the 500 pounds of dog food not only feed the pets of the elderly, it also provided a great introduction to UHD's culture of community engagement," said Julie Norton, associate director of Corporate and Foundation Relations. "All students felt a sense of pride and achievement in helping out in their community."

IM Meals on Wheels continuously looks for special ways to brighten the lives of its meal recipients. Every year, Houston-area students create unique greeting cards to be delivered along with meals. This year, UHD students hand-decorated one-of-a-kind holiday cards and birthday cards for the seniors. Students also designed flashcards for immigrant families who are learning English.

"These cards also serve as a reminder that someone cares and acknowledges their special day," said Norton.

Interfaith Ministries' Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston provides nutritious meals to homebound seniors and their spouses. The aniMeals on Wheels program was founded so that homebound seniors would not feel compelled to share their limited food and resources with their pets. In addition to Meals on Wheels, additional IM services also include Refugee Services and Interfaith Relations.

The event was organized by the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning and was held in conjunction with Gator Gateway, a comprehensive five-day program specifically designed to prepare students for a successful transition to college.