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San Antonio social service nonprofit sees demand double by vulnerable seniors

House of Neighborly Service provides meals four days a week

SAN ANTONIO – On the West Side since 1917, the mission of the House of Neighborly Service has grown even more crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The social service nonprofit’s executive director, Sandra Morales, said demand has doubled for the freshly made meals prepared four days a week for seniors, the most vulnerable members of its community.

“In January, we served 400 meals. Last month, it was 800 meals," Morales said.

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Since seniors are at highest risk of death or complications from COVID-19, Morales said clients are afraid to leave their homes or being near large crowds.

“It’s hard to go into the stores,” said Hermandina Carrizales, who came to pick up her meal.

Asked what she thought of the meal prepared by two of the nonprofit's employees, Carrizales said, "Oh, it's very good."

Morales said senior citizens can pick up meals Tuesday through Friday.

Other employees deliver meals to clients, who are quarantined at home, don’t have transportation or can’t drive.

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Without volunteers, the nonprofit can only deliver meals Tuesday through Thursday.

"We're looking for volunteers to help with that," Morales said.

Funded through private donations and grants, Morales said the House of Neighborly Service also needs more financial support as food prices and demand grow during the pandemic, for the sake of clients like Steve Guzman.

“I’m just grateful to God for this place, and hopefully, they’ll continue for a long time," Guzman said.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March. The first case confirmed in the U.S. was in mid-January and the first case confirmed in San Antonio was in mid-February.

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