Austin Police Deliver Hot Meals and Warm Smiles
Meals on Wheels Central Texas client Ferlie Mackey worried a bit recently when she saw a police officer walking up her sidewalk.
“I thought 'oh what did I do wrong’. But I don't walk that well, so I couldn't do too much wrong,” she recalls with a chuckle. It turns out there was no cause for alarm; Corporal Chris Cato from the Austin Police Department was there to deliver one of our hot, nutritious lunches to Ms. Mackey.
The corporal and several of his fellow officers take time out of their busy schedules to serve as substitute Meals on Wheels volunteers. Substitutes fill in when regularly scheduled volunteers are unable to deliver their assigned route.
Cpl. Cato came up with the concept of cops carrying cuisine last year. “We (police officers) were getting a lot of negative attention in the media,” he says. So he floated an idea past his chain of command: allow one officer to be a substitute Meals on Wheels volunteer at lunchtime every Friday. His superiors agreed to the plan.
Cpl. Cato currently shares the duty with eight other officers but he’s hoping to add ten more in the next year. “Doing this is just another way that (police) can actually talk to people – especially the ones we know are most vulnerable,” he says.
He and his fellow officers have certainly found a fan in Ferlie Mackey: “It's good to see that they're out in the community helping those that really need help.”