Sheriff, jail staff help provide meals to seniors in time of need

From left, Amy Harris, Parker County Jail kitchen manager, and John Forrest, county attorney, discuss meals prepped by inmate trusties to help out Meals on Wheels. 

Over the years, Parker County Sheriff’s Office and jail officials, along with trusty inmates, have lent a helping hand to the Senior Center when meals are unable to be provided.

Meals are typically provided by Meals on Wheels or Senior Center kitchen staff, but when there’s inclement weather or something else hindering meal availability, the sheriff’s office and jail staff are there to help.

“When we had that big ice storm we set up a production line in the jail and did all the cooking here. I had my patrol cars with chains on them and we were out delivering meals,” Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said. “We have a written agreement with the Senior Center that if they have an emergency or inclement weather, we’re here. It’s just a helping hand.”

County Jail Kitchen Manager Amy Harris still remembers what was served on that icy day.

“We served 126 meals and they got chicken fried steak, green beans, a salad, a roll and a brownie. We individually wrapped them all, packed them in coolers and then the officers came in and got everybody fed. It was about three or four days that we did that,” Harris said. “It was great. To help the community out like that was a good feeling.”

The meal was cooked by the jail trusties.

“The trusties were walking on water, they loved to help,” County Jail Warden Ron King said. “Basically the meal they had is what we serve here. Some people get here and they might think the portions are small, but we feed more than the minimum calories that the jail commission asks for.”

Parker County Attorney John Forrest was on the Parker County Committee on Aging at the time of the ice storm.

“The critical thing about feeding those individuals is that it might be the only meal they get for the day, so if they weren’t delivered by the sheriff and jail staff, they aren’t going to eat that day. Meals on Wheels couldn’t get out and the kitchen staff couldn’t get out for the Senior Center,” Forrest said. “So that was a blessing to have these guys provide that meal.”

King said they’ve helped out the Senior Center about two or three times so far.

“This year and every year we think about it and we’ll be ready,” King said. “If we’re going to feed 500, what’s another 125.”

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