Seniors, shut-ins assisted by SNAP through United Way

December 4, 2012

This article is part of a series called "Nolan County United Way: Agency Spotlight". Through a partnership with the NCUW, the Sweetwater Reporter hopes to inform readers about all nine agencies. To learn more about the Nolan County United Way or for opportunities to volunteer, contact Smartt at nolancountyuw@yahoo.com or by voice mail at 325-235-9522.

"Give Where You Live" is this year's campaign for the Nolan County United Way (NCUW), a local group that runs solely on pledges. This year's goal is set at $85,000.
The NCUW strives to serve local organizations and is run by a board of volunteers within the community. With Wendy Smartt as the Executive Director of the NCUW, they strive to impact Sweetwater and Nolan County.
By donating to the Nolan County United Way--whether by a one-time payroll deduction or on a quarterly basis, the non-profit can impact thousands of people in the area by supporting nine agencies over three different occasions in one year. In order to receive assistance from the NCUW, the agencies must take part in an annual interview process and meet several guidelines.
The funds raised by the Nolan County United Way stay in the county to help the nine agencies. They are the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, SNAP (Senior Nutrition Activities Program), Cancer Services Network, Gateway Family Services, Sweetwater BackPack Buddies, the West Texas Children's Advocacy Center (WTCAC), the Big Country Medical Reserve Corps, and the Women's Resource Center.
One of the local agencies assisted by the Nolan County United Way is SNAP, who offers many things to the seniors and shut-ins of Sweetwater. The center, which is temporarily located at 1703 Elm, is a place for senior citizens to come together daily for conversation, games, and other activities, which include, but are not limited to, playing pool, cards, dominoes, and working jigsaw puzzles.
The participants also have the opportunity to play bingo twice a month. In addition to these activities, SNAP participants and employees take trips to events such as Hee-Haw in Sagerton, concerts and plays.
The most important role SNAP has in Sweetwater and Roscoe is providing hot, nutritious meals for seniors and adults with disabilities. SNAP currently delivers approximately 180 meals every weekday to the homebound through the Meals on Wheels program. They also serve approximately 30 meals at the center on a daily basis.
SNAP depends on funding from many sources, one of which is United Way. The funding allows the program to serve more seniors through the home-delivered meals program and the congregate meals program.
Director Tonya Challis, secretary Janet Patty, and clerk Betty Ramos run the center each day. The kitchen staff is made up of food service supervisor Marie Suggs, head cook Marisa Castellanos, kitchen aides Yolanda Ruiz and Lena Andrus, and van driver Richard Cuellar.
The SNAP center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays to come eat and/or meet and socialize with others.
Another very important aspect of the Meals on Wheels program is its volunteer delivery people. These people provide thousands of hours of service each year by delivering meals to the elderly and disabled of Sweetwater and Roscoe.
Without these individuals, the Meals on Wheels program would not be able to exist. Currently there are 14 volunteer routes--13 in Sweetwater and 1 in Roscoe. We currently have 20 routes per week without volunteer drivers.
Anyone interested in volunteering for meal delivery can call the center at 236-6344.

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