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Food insecurity not just a people problem

 TRIO Community Meals delivery driver Kim Moore (left)  and Food Services Director Rosie Eubanks (right) at the Batesville agency, located in back of Yamato Japanese Steakhouse on Hwy. 6. 

Drivers delivering meals finding seniors with hungry pets

Delivering an average of 1,600 meals a week to a region that spans from Grenada to Phillips County, Ark., and all the way to the Tennessee state line, is not a task for the faint of heart.

Rosie Eubanks, Food Service Director at the TRIO Community Meals’ Batesville location, has been undertaking this very task, with a relatively small crew of drivers.

TRIO, is an operation headquartered in Flowood whose mission is to serve food to insecure, and isolated seniors.  They are committed to supporting congregate sites, as well as maintaining home-delivered senior nutrition programs.

Although the cause is great, the local agency in Batesville, located behind Yamato Japanese Steakhouse on Hwy. 6, has been enduring a crisis, and has recently reached out to the local community for their support.

“The people that we deliver these meals to are seniors, and they’re on a program that gets them these meals at no cost to them, and their cat or their dog, a lot of times is the only companionship that they have,”  Eubanks said.  “A lot of them, my drivers are the only people they see all week long.”

The isolation of many of these seniors, which leads them to often be overly welcoming to companionship, has created a dilemma of wanting to share the nutritious TRIO-delivered meals to their furry friends.

The Batesville agency in turn, has attempted to provide pet food to these seniors, but has become overwhelmed by the need to act on their humanitarian instincts.

The delivery drivers themselves are digging into their own pockets to provide pet food for some of these outlying elderly individuals, who at times have taken in up to double-digit amounts of mouths to feed, according to Eubanks.

They’ve gone so far as to ask local businesses for rejected cat or dog food, with damaged packaging. Since the food service doesn’t fall under the label of an animal rescue, they have been denied, due to legal protocol, Eubanks said.

“If each business in Batesville would bring by one bag of dog food a week, it would make a huge difference,” Eubanks said.  She encourages concerned parties to stop by TRIO’s Hwy. 6 location, or assist in spreading word of their growing crisis, in order to heighten community awareness of the matter.     

* cutline : TRIO Community Meals delivery driver Kim Moore (left)  and Food Services Director Rosie Eubanks (right) at the Batesville agency, located in back of Yamato Japanese Steakhouse on Hwy. 6. (Davis Coen)