Updated

Ex-professor sponsors elderly couple's meals

By SOMMER HAMILTON

Eagle Staff Writer

An elderly Bryan couple whose home-delivered meal service was scaled back because of funding cuts now will get meals every day, thanks to a retired Texas A&M University professor.

Wilford and Doris Prindle are two of 30 people ages 60 and older whose free meal delivery was reduced in July. Instead of getting hot noontime lunches five days a week from the Brazos Valley Community Action Agency, the Prindles’ service was cut to three days a week.

As many as 110 people in seven Brazos Valley counties were cut entirely from the program, which provides free food to elderly residents who are unable to prepare nutritious meals for themselves.

Retired A&M biochemistry professor Bennie Camp, 77, headed to the action agency’s kitchen Monday morning after reading about the Prindles’ plight in The Eagle on Sunday. Camp added four more meals apiece to their weekly diets, volunteering to pay $5 per lunch to ensure the Prindles would have balanced meals every day of the week.

“How people can subsist on three meals a week is beyond me,” Camp said Wednesday. “When it comes to people who are hungry, I’ll just forgo a few things. Somewhere between Mrs. Camp, myself and the Lord, we’ll work it out.”

He said he and his wife would sacrifice here and there on his fixed income to help the Prindles. The community action agency, which distributes the meals for the Area Agency on Aging, will send Camp a monthly bill.

Wilford Prindle, 85, is a retired preacher who suffers from osteoporosis, and his 84-year-old wife has Alzheimer’s disease.

The cuts in meal service to the Prindles and others came after the nonprofit Area Agency on Aging — which pays for the program — received nearly $200,000 less in state funding in 2004 than it had planned to get, program coordinator Ronnie Gipson has said.

It remained unclear Wednesday how much state and federal funding would be available for the home-delivered meals program in 2005.

But local residents can help fill in the gaps left by the funding cuts by sponsoring meals for those who need them, said Vancy Mayes, administrator of the action agency’s community services division. This week, another community member paid to sponsor five meals a week for an elderly friend who hadn’t been receiving them, she said.

“If they are wanting to help somebody else in need,” Mayes said, “we just thank them and take their donations.”

• Sommer Hamilton’s e-mail address is shamilton@theeagle.com.

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