HOW IT ALL STARTED…
“We, The West Texas Home Health Agency of Lubbock, Texas, have been greatly concerned about the problems among our aging and elderly people of this community. Their problems are brought to our attention daily as the nurses visit in the homes of so many of these people. Their problems are many, but at this time, we feel the greatest problem is the preparation of well balanced meals. This we feel could be remedied in many instances by ‘MEALS ON WHEELS’.”
March 1, 2021
To Meals on Wheels:
My memories of how Meals on Wheels began.
My name is Mary Ann Gallaway. My mother was Marie Milliken. My mother started the program known as Meals on Wheels in Lubbock, Texas in April, 1971.
My mother started the first home health agency in Lubbock in 1969. She had, in 1971, four RN’s working for her. (I was a freshman at Texas Tech and worked part-time at the office.) Mother came into the office after attending a conference where she first heard about a city that had started the first Meals on Wheels program in the United States. She said to the 4 nurses (and I was also at the office that afternoon) “Lubbock needs a Meals on Wheels program. One of you nurses needs to decide if you would like to run this program. If you would like to be the first head of Meals on Wheels in Lubbock, then you will need to resign from our home health agency (West Texas Home Health Agency).”
The next day, Mary Williams came into the office and said, “I want to help start this new program.” Mary Williams became the first head of Meals on Wheels in Lubbock.
My mother, Marie Milliken, worked to set up the board of directors and to bring businesses, churches, service organizations, and many volunteers on board to help support this new organization.
My mother believed that Meals on Wheels should be a freestanding agency and should not be a part of any one home health agency. She also believed that Meals on Wheels should not be dependent on federal funding because those programs change with time.
Mother said, “The people of Lubbock, when they understand the need, will take care of their own.” I believe that for the last 50 years, the people of Lubbock have proven her to be correct. Mother understood the people of West Texas. The ice and snowstorm in early February we have all just experienced, shows how accurate mother was.
Marie Milliken passed away April 13, 2004.
She would be very proud of the way Meals on Wheels has grown during the last 50 years and the way the people of Lubbock have come to support this organization.
Congratulations on 50 years!
Mary Ann Milliken Gallaway