The term “volunteer” doesn’t do Jan Hughes justice. She is one of the most dedicated and passionate volunteers at Interfaith Ministries.
Jan says her concern for the welfare of seniors and their pets developed as she cared for her parents who have now passed away, as well as an elderly aunt. She saw first-hand how challenging tasks as simple as preparing a meal could be for someone who is elderly and homebound.
While attending a meeting of a civic organization, Jan heard someone speak about Meals on Wheels and she immediately felt compelled to help. A three-year volunteer veteran, Jan is now proactive in identifying ways to better serve homebound seniors through her work with Interfaith Ministries.
Interfaith Ministries (IM) for Greater Houston’s mission is to ensure that no senior goes hungry. In addition to serving nutritious meals five days per week to more than 4,000 homebound seniors, IM’s “meals and more” approach meets the multiple needs of seniors. Examples include breakfast and weekend meals for the frailest seniors and pet food through aniMeals.
Jan understands the importance that a hot meal can make for someone who is elderly. She knows all of the clients she serves by name and they all know her by name, too.
Since she began volunteering with Meals on Wheels (MOW), Jan has delivered more than 2,000 meals. But Jan also knows it’s about “more than a meal”.
Whether that means helping a client change a light bulb or feed their pet, Jan is always eager to go above and beyond.
As a pet lover, Jan found her passion helping seniors keep their pets through aniMeals, a program that provides pet food to homebound seniors who cannot afford to feed their pet or unable to shop for their pet. Jan is also spearheading aniMeals’ partnership with Emancipet, which makes high-quality spay/neuter and veterinary care affordable and accessible to seniors with pets.
Her dedication and efforts are the only reason that many of the MOW recipients are now able to provide their cats and dogs with veterinary care. In the first couple of months of the program, Jan has worked with Emanicipet to help over 28 seniors and their pets receive a spay or neuter, a rabies vaccination and microchip.
Jan Hughes feels she is truly keeping her mother’s legacy alive through her work with Interfaith Ministries Meals on Wheels. She recalls how kind and generous her mother was to everyone and says, “My mom was always giving back and helping others. I wanted to follow in her footsteps and to continue her work.”