Kicking off its end-of-year giving campaign, Meals on Wheels of Odessa got a $50,000 matching donation from John Herriage, Realtor/owner of Copper Key Realty to help impact senior hunger.
The donation was made on Giving Tuesday at Meals on Wheels.
Craig Stoker, Meals on Wheels of Odessa executive director, said the campaign will last until the end of the year. He added that this is the first time to his knowledge that MOW has received a donation this large.
“We’re excited to kick this off with the largest match in history,” Stoker said.
“The funds we raise with this campaign stay right here in Odessa. We use them to feed homebound seniors and disabled clients that we serve here at Meals on Wheels. The money goes to help buy meals. It helps to provide other services like small home repairs. Our goal is to make sure that our seniors are able to live in their homes independently as long as possible and we do that through a variety of ways. The money raised here today helps us do that,” Stoker added.
Meals on Wheels has more than 650 clients who receive home delivered meals.
“(In) our entire program, we have over 800 clients that we serve every single day. For those who don’t fit into really kind of small boxes, we want to be able to serve them anyway. So funds that we raise on our own through fundraisers like this allow us to add any clients we want. We work with so many folks that just kind of missed the mark by a little bit that we want to make sure everybody who who needs a meal gets one,” Stoker said.
He added that he’s sure this event will continue to grow.
“We live in such a generous community that I know people will respond. I know that we’re going to raise the money and I know that this will continue growing. Our goal is to serve 1,000 meals a day through our home delivered meals program and to do that it’s going to take the money. I do anticipate this growing. I do anticipate this becoming a yearly event. I know the community’s going to support us and I’m just so grateful,” Stoker said.
He added that the campaign will run until MOW gets to $50,000 or the end of the year, whichever comes first. MOW receives funding from Texas Health and Human Services, which provides a large part of its funding, the Texas Department of Agriculture and federal funds through the city through the Community Development Block Grant.
Meals are about $5 each, so that $50,000 will mean approximately 20,000 meals.
“I know it’s always a big ask for those in the community to donate money and I always remind everybody that the most valuable thing you have to donate is your time. Our organization is almost completely volunteer run, so if you have some time to give, we would love to have you. We’ve got an amazing group of very dedicated volunteers that help us run the routes every single day. We cannot do this without volunteers,” Stoker said.
To volunteer, you have to pass a background check and have a driver’s license. MOW has 38 routes and they deliver 20 days a month Monday through Friday. They also need alternate volunteers in case people don’t show up as scheduled.
They give shelf-stable goods during the week. Every Friday, they get a loaf of bread and they get milk every day.
“We have a great partnership with HEB. They’re selling us their bread at a very reduced cost,” Stoker said.
Herriage said one of the main reasons he picked Meals on Wheels is because when he was growing up, his mother was homebound and the nonprofit organization helped his family.
“I want to do as much as I can to give back to the community and give back to Meals on Wheels. The community has been really great to Copper Key and we just want to give back. We want to give back to a local charity that is helping homebound people,” Herriage said.
Herriage said his firm has given to Meals on Wheels before, but nothing this large.
“The matching donation where hopefully our $50,000 will become $100,000 and I truly believe it will, we have an awesome community that really takes care of Meals on Wheels. We’ve got some really great people in Odessa that will donate and take care of the charities,” Herriage said.
With the holidays approaching, he said he thinks the donation is very important to Meals on Wheels so it can feed as many people as possible.
“It’s a great organization. It helps a lot of people and I think this way they can help even more,” Herriage said.
He added that it feels “really good” to be able to do this.
“I couldn’t have done it without the support of so many great clients we have at Copper Key Realty,” Herriage said.
He added that he hopes his matching contribution will inspire others in the community to do what he’s doing.
“I know it’s Giving Tuesday, but I think it’d be great for Meals on Wheels in January, February, March or something to do another match campaign. That’s a challenge to our fellow business owners or other people in town. Let’s keep it going. Let’s do it again,” Herriage said.