Mobile Meals marks a milestone while serving communities - Tucson News Now

Mobile Meals marks a milestone while serving communities

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It's a landmark day for Mobile Meals of Tucson which helps Tucsonans who can't prepare their own meals or are housebound.

Volunteers just delivered their 100,000 meal this year and it's the first time in the 43-year history of the agency that they've hit that number in one calendar year.

A ceremony today marked that milestone.

About one-third of those meals were made at St. Mary's Hospital and at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Dignitaries, volunteers and others celebrated at St. Mary's Wednesday.     

Several organizations and hospitals prepare the meals that are a lifeline for people in Tucson, Green Valley and Sahuarita.

In the midtown home she shares with her husband, Isabel Navarro holds her wedding picture that's in special frame, and reads an inscription.

"A celebration of happiness for 63 years." Navarro reads.

"And it has been a celebration of happiness. We've been very very blessed," she says.

After all this time, Isabel and Anastacio Navarro still dote on each other.

"We'd like to keep going as long as we can," Isabel says.

They credit Mobile Meals of Tucson for helping them do that.

Serious health problems could have meant a nursing home, but the Navarros have Mobile Meals to help them live at home and remain independent.

"We'd probably be down the tubes by now if we didn't get them," Anastacio says. "She can't cook any more and I can't cook any more. What comes in is what we eat. We really appreciate it."

Mobile Meals couldn't do it without its volunteers, many of whom have been delivering meals for years.

Enrique Gonzales has made deliveries since 1991. He has a full time job and delivers meals on his lunch hour.

"I feel like I'm being, you know, serving the Lord and being blessed by the opportunity to help them," Gonzales said.

The majority of Mobile Meals clients are women.

Most clients are elderly, many are disabled and more than half of them require special meals because of illness.

Volunteers often are the first to find out a client needs help, maybe with a medical crisis.

That knock at the door, that time to chat, that friendly smile. It's all a lifeline, but it's even more than that.   

"If I'm sick and I don't feel well, I know he's going to eat," Isabel says. "And that's all that matters to me. After 63 years of married life, he's my all."

Mobile Meals is supported by private donations, foundation donations, grants and by local governments.

The partnerships have helped Mobile Meals grow to be able to help more people.

At the celebration event at St. Mary's Hospital, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said,"For an organization like this to keep on doing what it needs to do we need both the public, the private and the non-profit sectors to work together. We need people to volunteer."

Mobile Meals of Tucson depends heavily on donations and volunteers.

The hospitals and other organizations supply the food preparation time.

Clients pay what they can afford. Some pay nothing. The average is $3 dollars per day for two meals. The actual cost of the meals is 11 dollars per day.

For more information, visit http://www.mobilemealsoftucson.org/.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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