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Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson & Ellis Counties attends White House briefing for Aging Organizations

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Submitted photo: White House Lawn taken while visiting Friday, Oct. 21. Submitted photo: White House Lawn taken while visiting Friday, Oct. 21.

ELLIS COUNTY - Vinsen Faris, Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties executive director, recently attended a White House Community Leaders Briefing in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Oct. 21. 

Faris was asked to participate as part of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, to hear from White House officials about current policies and programs in regards to issues effecting older Americans, and to provide feedback on how government programs can better serve those in our community. 

Presenters ranged from the Senior Advisor to the President to the Special Assistant to the President for Healthcare and Economic Policy, along with the Assistant Secretary for Aging, the Director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Deputy Commissioner for Social Security. 

Faris participated in a roundtable discussion on “Aging, Public Health, and Prevention” in the afternoon. 

Here, meals on wheels services were singled out as part of the national strategy to support the growing population of seniors, by helping to keep people healthy, helping to keep them in their homes, and by helping to save taxpayers’ dollars. “As part of the meals on wheels family of organizations, it felt good to be mentioned in front of so many who work in the field of aging,” Faris stated. 

An overriding theme to the day was the current budget crisis, and the potential broad based impacts coming from the Budget Control Act of 2011. “Obviously a big part of the discussions was how we were all going to have to learn to do more with far less,” Faris said. 

“One of the good things is that may actually come out of the budget crisis, is that federal agencies are going to have to start working together as opposed to in a vacuum,” he added. 

“However, one of the scary things is that without a doubt, more and more needy people will be calling community based organizations such as Meals-on- Wheels for help.”

The day began with a tour of the White House, followed by the briefing in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. “Several people have asked if I got to meet the President,” Faris quipped. 

“I’ve had to answer no, since there was a lot of activity around the White House that day, especially with the President announcing the end of the war in Iraq. 

“However, it was a most interesting day and a wonderful experience.”

A longtime leader in fighting senior hunger, Faris is the Vice Chair of the Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA). MOWAA is the oldest and largest national organization in the United States representing those programs that provide meals to people in need. Their mission is to end senior hunger by 2020. 

For more information about MOWAA or to locate a local Meals On Wheels program, visit the MOWAA website at www.mowaa.org. 

Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties is a community benefit organization that serves needy elderly and disabled persons throughout Johnson and Ellis Counties. Founded in 1976, the organization currently serves more than 3,000 homebound persons per year in a two-county service area. 

Meals-on-Wheels provides home-delivered meals, transportation services, caregiver education, “Ani-Meals” pet food program, and information & assistance support to families with needy elderly and disabled family members. 

For more information, contact Meals-on-Wheels at 817-558-2840 or 972-351-9943, or online at www.servingthechildrenofyesterday.org. 

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