Only after clients placed with other services Mobile Meals stop rolling

By Conrad Easterday
Washita Valley Weekly Editor

After more than 40 years of continuous service to the Chickasha community, Mobile Meals is stopping its operation, but the local residents who rely on the organization for noon meals delivered to their door have not been abandoned.
“All of the people have been transferred to Senior Nutrition except for three who did not qualify,” said Mobile Meals President Judith Jernigan.
A Mobile Meals volunteer will pick up meals from the Soup Kitchen for those three individuals, she explained. Senior Nutrition, which operates with government funding, could not add the three to its client list because of age restrictions.
Mobile Meals’ struggles began with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Part of the reason we stopped was we had been getting meals from the hospital for years and years,” Jernigan said. “After the pandemic the cost of a meal jumped from $3 to $10.”
Interurban of Chickasha, a local restaurant stepped in to provide meals at $8.50, but Mobile Meals’ funding still was unable to keep pace. Volunteers, some of whom had been with the organization for its entire 40-year lifespan, were becoming older and fewer, Jernigan said.
“And Senior Nutrition is able to deliver now where they hadn’t been able before,” she explained. “We didn’t need to duplicate what they were doing.”
Mobile Meals has been a completely volunteer driven organization for its entire history. The organization has never received any aid from government programs of any sort and has relied solely on donations to buy hot lunches for up to as many as 100 people per day, five days a week.
The monetary donations that have funded Mobile Meals have come from churches, clubs, businesses, civic organizations and individual donors. Mobile Meals extends a huge thank you to all of them, Jernigan said.
Along with the many donors that have allowed Mobile Meals to operate, the real everyday work load has been shouldered by hundreds of volunteers through the years. Some of the volunteers have been with Mobile Meals up to 40 years! Picking up the meals and delivering them to clients five days a week has been an extraordinary commitment. The volunteers not only delivered a hot meal daily, but they also provided an in-person contact to each client.
However, due to the increasingly higher cost of food and the greatly shrinking volunteer base it became apparent that it was no longer possible to continue with Mobile Meals.
Jernigan extended the organization’s thanks to other entities in town that are now providing meals to those in need as well as to the homebound, we trust that the needs that have been met by Mobile Meals over the years will continue to be filled.
“We again thank the volunteers, the donors, and everyone who has made Mobile Meals such a worthwhile organization.” she said.