Enid Borden is a firecracker, small and fiery. She is the CEO and President of Meals On Wheels and has a mission to end hunger among seniors in America. And when you meet the fast-talking, passionate Enid (at left), whose career path included being a folk singer and a journalist as well as an advocate for social change, you believe that she will not rest until she puts herself out of business .
We all know a little about the Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) and that it delivers meals on a five-day-a-week basis to the housebound elderly. In fact, through local community-based nutrition programs in all 50 states as well as U.S. territories, the organization delivers one million meals a day to those who could go hungry. It also has an army of over a million volunteers who work for these programs.
Pretty impressive, right? But not, according to Enid, good enough. She reels off the statistics about the hidden hunger among the elderly. “There are over eight million senior citizens in this country today who are hungry or who face the threat of hunger,” she explains. “That translates into one in seven seniors. Those with lower incomes, living in the South or Southwest, those who are minorities are most likely to be threatened by hunger. Hunger in rural areas is a very great problem,” she continues. Her final dismaying fact: “Sixty percent of seniors facing the threat of hunger are women.” And though she is proud of the work her Association does, she also notes Meals on Wheels only delivers meals during the week and only delivers one meal a day to people who either cannot afford the food or cannot cook their other daily meals.
Recently Enid has recruited some impressive and extremely attractive advocates. Linda Gray, 71, the former Sue Ellen of “Dallas,” and Linda Evans, 69, the former Krystle of “Dynasty. ” Looking absolutely fabulous, they both joined her at an event last week on Capitol Hill. Gray has delivered meals to the elderly in the Richmond, Virginia area and Evans says her own family used to feed their needy neighbors.
Both are eager to promote the organization and especially Enid’s latest initiative.Since she feels senior hunger is so often a women’s issue, she has established the National Alliance of Women Against Senior Hunger, asking women to join and contribute in different ways.They include learning more about the Association’s goal to end senior hunger by 2020, volunteering to serve a meal or hosting a “friendraiser” where women learn more about the organization and its needs. .
Enid says she is so committed to her work because she remembers once on a very hot day in July delivering a meal to Al, an old, sick man who lived in a trailer that was really just a tin box. But on his door he had handwritten a sign that said “God Bless America.” “I do my work because I will always remember Al, who loved this country. We are the richest country on earth. We have to do better for Al and for all those like Al.”
One other way one can make a commitment to Meals On Wheels is writing an article about their important work. So here’s my commitment, and this one’s for you, Enid.
For more information, visit mowaa.org.