SAN ANTONIO - Regional partners are stepping up to keep Meals on Wheels functioning in rural communities across South Texas.
Earlier this month The Community Council of South Central Texas - the agency operating the program for at least seven other counties - announced it was ending its Meals on Wheels contract because of financial pressures.
On Tuesday morning, when drivers for Meals on Wheels San Antonio headed out, for 3,000 seniors in Bexar County, it was an average delivery and visit.
However, for 50 seniors in Frio and Atascosa counties, the meeting was special. It was the first time they met their new Meals on Wheels delivery driver.
We caught up as Jerry and Theresa Kendrick met Albert. It was also the first time Albert has gone outside of Bexar County for this job.
Now, meals for Bexar, Frio and Atascosa counties start in San Antonio.
"It's a little different for us. We've always worked inside Bexar County, serving about 3,000 clients just there," said San Antonio Meals on Wheels Director Jim Snyder.
Fifty clients just like Jerry Kendrick in Charlotte will also receive service.
The Alamo Area Council of Governments and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission helped pull partners together to be sure seniors are covered.
"It's very difficult deliver in a rural situation. It's not uncommon across the country that the rural programs for Meals on Wheels are suffering. Some closed over the years," Snyder said.
For a lot of seniors, the program means more than just the food.
"But to separate that isolation and a hello and a safety check is worth a lot to both the senior and their family members," Snyder said.
"I got used to Gladys coming by and I look forward to it because she was good, she was very good at it," Jerry Kendrick said.
Jerry Kendrick will miss Gladys, his former driver, but for now he'll just have to get used to seeing Albert once a week.
In terms of the other rural counties, the Comal County Senior Citizens Foundation will handle deliveries for Guadalupe, Wilson, and Karnes counties.
McCullen County is continuing its program in-house.