Tommy Mann Jr.

For The Record

Two local businesses with a reputation for supporting their local community are coming together to help bring awareness to the current plight of the Orange Community Action Association.

The Orange Community Action Association, also commonly referred to as the Meals on Wheels program, is in the midst of a potential financial crisis as it continues provide meals and transportation for area senior citizens.

Sabine River Ford and First Financial Bank are joining forces to help raise awareness of the program and generate support from the community for this much needed service by holding “Lunch on the Lot” from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Friday, Aug. 26 at Sabine River Ford, 1601 Green Ave. in Orange.

The fundraiser luncheon will consist of link, chips, drink and cookie, which can be purchased for $5 at the event. Donations will be accepted as well to support the agency.

“Meals on Wheels does a phenomenal job for our community, but they have a funding shortage that many people may not be aware of,” said Stephen Lee, president of First Financial Bank. “The service they provide is very much needed because it is probably the only meal and, maybe, the only human interaction some of those people they serve get.”

Lee became aware of what the Orange Community Action Association does for the community with his involvement in the United Way of Orange County in recent years and he knows how vital the service it provides to residents of the county truly is.

“We want to keep them solvent and serving our community,” he added. “And, hopefully, we will raise awareness about what the organization does for our community.”

The Orange Community Action Association delivers as many as 300 meals per day, while it serves approximately 385 meals per day, five-days-per week. Of the meals not delivered to home-based clients, meals are taken to locations in Orange, as well as Optimist Village in Pinehurst, and locations in Bridge City and Little Cypress.

The Orange Community Action Association not only provides meals to its clients several days each week, but it also provides transportation to senior citizens are no longer afforded the luxury of driving. For $1 per ride, the OCAA will transport seniors within the immediate local area so they can go shopping, make doctors appointments and various other errands.

The Meals on Wheels program delivers meals to senior citizens ages 65 and older and to those who are disabled. It also provides meals for those who are age 60 and older who eat at one of the food location stations such as the OCAA office and the one at Optimist Village, among others.

Linda Hughes, director of OCAA, addressed Orange County Commissioners in July and explained the dire straights the organization is facing in its future to provide food and transportation for Orange County residents.

She stated between rising insurance costs, extensive vehicle repairs to an outdated fleet, lack of volunteers and funding cuts the organization has dealt with this year that

it was only a matter of time before the agency would know longer be able to continue providing for Orange County unless it received help soon.

“Every dollar from this fundraiser will go to support the organization,” Lee said. “All donations are welcome too.”

The Orange Community Action Assocation is located at 123 S. Fifth St. in downtown Orange, inside the City of Orange Senior Center.