When the Highland Lakes Crisis Network needed a few extra hands to prepare meals for distribution, they got a team instead.
About 20 Marble Falls High School football players have spent the past few Fridays at First United Methodist Church packaging meals to be delivered to residents in need.
The Mustangs said they were happy to give back to the community.
“We’re here to help,” said junior quarterback Jake Becker during a June 19 volunteer session.
“It’s better to do something,” senior receiver Caleb Cuplin said.
“Normally, I’d be at home playing video games,” said sophomore lineman Caiden Campbell.
Crisis Network Executive Director Kevin Naumann said the youths’ assistance was greatly appreciated by other leaders and volunteers.
“They’ve been lifesavers,” he said. “They’ve mobilized together as a family. That’s been awesome. We have older volunteers, so having them there to lift those heavy boxes has been great.”
The organization needs volunteers to cook, box meals, and deliver the food.
In March, Highland Lakes Crisis Network began providing meals to residents negatively impacted by COVID-19. The organization is committed to continuing the service as well as giving cleaning supplies to residents as long as there is a need.
But Naumann noted some truths.
“We’ve been doing it for so long, so people are tired of doing it,” he said. “Other people are back to work, so our volunteer pool has shrunk. I am surprised (to still be preparing meals daily). We would have never expected this type of disaster. There’s a lot of hurt and a lot of need. We’re seeing all the people suffer right now. It’s been heartbreaking. It’s also good to see all the churches and organizations mobilize to meet the need.”
At the height of demand, the organization was serving 1,500 meals a day; that number has dropped to around 800 daily.
That’s about 350 people, or 120 families, Naumann said.
The Crisis Network is also delivering meals to schoolchildren who can’t get to their district’s grab-and-go meal pickup locations due to lack of transportation.
While the central point of meal preparation is the First United Methodist Church kitchen, the Marble Falls Church of Christ also has packed casseroles for the service.
“We still have the list that’s been building this whole time,” Naumann said of the people requiring assistance. “We’ve downsized and plugged people back into the (Community) Resource Center, food banks, and food pantries at churches if they have transportation and can go, health-wise.”
Naumann said organization leaders are looking to stop the meal program by the end of July but will continue it if the need is still great. So monetary donations are accepted and appreciated.
“That’s really the main thing,” he said. “I don’t know how many rounds of this we have to do. We want to be able and be prepare to spin it back up if we need to. We’re trying to phase things out because we want people to get back to normal.”
To make a donation, sign up to volunteer, or request help, visit highlandlakescrisisnetwork.com.