“Meals on Wheels Means Kindness”

August 22, 2019

“It’s not my Austin anymore,” Annie Hitchcock says with a sigh while describing the changes she’s seen in her hometown since her birth here in 1929.

Asked to name the biggest transformation she’s witnessed, Ms. Hitchcock skips the usual answers longtime residents give: an unrecognizable skyline, gridlocked traffic on six-lane freeways, or the demise of old, iconic businesses. Instead, she points to the city’s populace. “The people just aren’t as friendly anymore,” she says matter-of-factly.

However, Ms. Hitchcock quickly points out some notable exceptions – the dedicated Meals on Wheels Central Texas volunteers who deliver hot, nutritious lunches, warm smiles and safety checks to the North Austin home where she lives alone. “Oh, my goodness, they are so kind! They’re great,” says Ms. Hitchcock with a beaming smile.

She also relishes the healthy lunches those volunteers bring her. That’s because cooking meals for herself has become so difficult. “When I stand a lot, my legs hurt. It’s really hard when you get to be nearly 90. Everything is wearing out. My body says ‘slow down, Annie’. So I’ve slowed down.”

Life has slowed down dramatically since the days when she and her husband, Kenneth Hitchcock, a World War II veteran, raised two children together. Mr. Hitchcock worked for Southwestern Bell, and Ms. Hitchcock worked for, among others, Steck Printing Company and the City Housing Authority. Mr. Hitchcock passed away in 2000 – the couple had been married for 52 years.

These days, Ms. Hitchcock credits our meals for helping her live independently. “It’s opened up a whole new world. I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to eat anymore and the food is good for my body,” she says. And, she adds, our volunteers are good for her soul: “Somedays, I don’t see anyone (except the MOWCTX volunteer). I like to see somebody once in a while. Meals on Wheels means kindness, it means that I’m going to get to say ‘hi’ and talk a little bit. I just hope it goes on forever.”