Knox County Mobile Meals impacted by census

You’re required to do it by law. But by filling out the census this year, you could helping other East Tennessee neighbors.
Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 7:27 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - You’re required to do it by law. But by filling out the census this year, you could be helping other East Tennessee neighbors.

Mobile Meals has meant a lot to me,” said Ms. Lois, an 80-year-old Knox County woman who is a client of the Knox County Mobile Meals Program.

“You can’t do this and not make a difference. I mean seeing the smiling faces everyday and reaching their hand out for that food. It really--it feels good,” explained Dave Levins, a volunteer with the Mobile Meals program.

Every Wednesday since May, Levins has showed up at Ms. Lois’s front door. But everyday she has a volunteer stop by to bring her a hot meal and check in on her.

“We went from delivering two meals to her, to delivering one,” said Levins.

In July, Ms. Lois lost her husband to cancer.

“It gave me more time to spend with him instead of standing over a stove and cooking all the time,” said Ms. Lois.

But she still relies on the program.

“I don’t like to cook for just one person,” said she, “So it’s wonderful for me.”

Though her husband is gone, she knows she has to do her part to make sure she’s still counted as living in Knox County. So her daughter helped her complete the census.

“I’m pleased when I’m hearing our clients are filling it out,” explained Judith Pelot, Mobile Meals, Nutrition Services Director, “And I want to make sure everyone understands the importance of filling it out. So we have really been touting that census message for awhile now to make sure everyone is served well.”

Volunteers like Levins remind Mobile Meals recipients that if they don’t fill out the census Mobile Meals could lose funding from the federal government. That could mean a waiting list and potentially no meals for clients like Lois.

“That would be 30, 40, 60 phone calls that we could say I’m sorry we can’t serve you now and you’re going to have to wait,” said Pelot.

Ms. Lois hoped to keep visiting with Levins.

“It saves me time. I can enjoy just a little bit of what time I have left,” said Ms. Lois.

She’s charged others,“Try to get help any way you can to get them filled out. Because this program has just been a lifesaver for me.”

The CAC is a location where you can fill out the census. You can also call 865-524-2786 for help.

The deadline to complete the census is September 30.

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