It takes a lot of people to keep all the pieces moving together.
Kay grew up in the tiny town of Quitaque, Texas and has lived there all her life. She has worked for the First National Bank for 35 years, the only home town bank for several surrounding communities. The bank was a big part in Kay's efforts to start and grow Tri-County Meals. Kay's husband George works side-by-side with her to bring all the pieces together, and he will be joining her on the cruise.
Quitaque, Texas and the nearby towns of Silverton, Turkey, and Flomont have about 300 residents each. The nearest city of Amarillo is about 100 miles away. Most people live below the poverty line, and life here is a struggle every day. Kay knows everybody in all these towns through her long tenure at the bank. In 2004, she decided to make life just a little easier for her neighbors. She started Tri-County Meals, got some friends and colleagues onboard, secured a grant and other financing, and obtained a community center and food pantry. The program has taken on a life of its own over the past few years, and now they have a new 5000 square-foot dining area and food pantry for the residents. Says Kay: "The food pantry is used for emergencies only, but I can tell you this. Nobody goes hungry in these towns."
Kay, George, and their hundred volunteers all look out for each other and make sure the needs of their communities are served. This often means providing food for families who have lost their jobs and making sure the kids have what they need. In fact, the community center now has two full-time cooks, and homebound seniors never have to pay for a meal. The center is largely self-supporting. The team of Tri-County Meals volunteers raises funds by catering local events, doing bake sales with churches, and seeking donations from local sources. And every bit important is the fact that Kay's bank lets her manage Tri-County Meals during working hours. They too know everybody in these communities, and they are one of Kay's supporters.