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COVID-19 affects free meal services in Burnet County

Mission Marble Falls and Meals on Wheels

The Rev. George Perry of St. Frederick Baptist Church, which operates Mission Outreach, and Kara Buster, Mission Marble Falls secretary and meal coordinator, are preparing boxed lunches that people can pick up and take with them. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

Three area services providing free meals to Burnet County residents in need are changing their procedures in response to COVID-19.

Mission Marble Falls will continue to offer lunches every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club of the Highland Lakes-Marble Falls unit, 1701 Broadway St.

However, the meals are now takeout only.

Mission Outreach, which operates out of St. Frederick Baptist Church in Marble Falls, will not be offering meals anymore on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Rev. George Perry said.

“My folks are vulnerable. They’re up there in age,” he said. “That’s the reason why we cut the Tuesdays-Thursdays out.”

According to health officials, the novel coronavirus, which is transmitted from human to human via respiratory droplets, is especially dangerous for older adults and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Still, Perry emphasized that the facility has frozen, ready-to eat chicken they’ll give out.

“We’ll give it to anyone who calls and tells me they’re hungry,” he said. “As long as I have it, we’ll give it out to whomever calls and says they want something to eat.”

Meals on Wheels, which is operated by Opportunities for Williamson & Burnet Counties, closed all six of its congregate senior centers, including at the Burnet Senior Center, 602 N. Wood St., and Highview Retirement Village, 200 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls.

But the organization is still feeding those who rely on the meals, Director Clarence Shephard said.

“We got out shelf-stable meals that will last for two weeks while we regroup and figure out what we’ll do with (the coronavirus),” he said. “We’ll do something else after two weeks. We have no plans of discontinuing our service.”

Shephard compared what the organization is doing right now to what it has done for holidays or other disruptions in daily meal services.

He noted volunteers always are needed, whether that’s at the congregate sites or to deliver meals, and that still will be the case when Meals On Wheels returns to its normal routine.

In addition, the organization released an item wish list for those it serves that includes facial tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, over-the-counter medicines, and canned food.

Those can be shipped to or dropped off at the Burnet Senior Center or Highview Retirement Village at the addresses above.