“They’ve Literally Saved My Life”

July 23, 2020

“This food keeps me nourished.  Without it, I wouldn’t make it,” says 74-year-old Shirley Anyon of the meals she receives from MOWCTX.

A successful battle against cancer saved Ms. Anyon’s life but it wiped out her savings and left her with other severe health issues.  “When you take powerful drugs to cure [cancer] the effects from that drug [can be] horrendous. I had falls, concussions, from that.  I couldn’t eat,” she recalls.

Her painful ordeal felt far removed from the glamorous life she and her late husband, Jimmy, led decades ago.  “He was a Southern California contractor who did jobs for many movie stars, like John Wayne, Victor Mature, Debbie Reynolds and Max Baer, Jr.   After a job was completed, the homeowner would be very happy and they would invite us to a shindig, a soiree, and we would meet other celebrities,” says Ms. Anyon.

These days, framed autographed photos of famous folks from another era - each picture bearing a personalized message to “Jimmy and Shirley”-  adorn the Northeast Austin apartment where she lives alone.  Her former landlord was the one who recommended Meals on Wheels Central Texas after becoming worried that Ms. Anyon was losing too much weight.

Soon, our volunteers were delivering nutritious meals and friendly visits and it wasn’t long before her doctor noticed a vast improvement in her health.  “He said ‘whatever you’re doing keep doing it.’  I didn’t tell him that I get Meals on Wheels.  He doesn’t have to know everything,” she says with a laugh.

Ms. Anyon also receives assistance from our PALS (Pets Assisting the Lives of Seniors) program which provides free food and basic veterinary care for her three cats.  “They’re my pals. They know when I get depressed and they rub themselves on my cheek and they say, ‘hey mom, chill out, we’re here,’ she says of her constant companions.

She says life during the pandemic has certainly been unnerving.  But she feels good knowing Meals on Wheels Central Texas is there for her:  “I’m ever so grateful. [MOWCTX] has helped me [during the pandemic].  Money is tighter than ever.  They’ve helped me build back my health.  They’ve literally saved my life."

Watch a short video about how we help Ms. Anyon age in place with dignity.