Men's Breakfast Report, December 2011

The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, December 10 with Murphy Rankin, director of ActionS.  Murphy worked for a long time in the automobile business in Brazoria County.  After a stint on the board of directors of ActionS and his retirement from the automobile business he became director of ActionS.  

ActionS is a program to serve senior citizens.  Its most well-known program is providing meeting places for seniors to socialize and have lunch.  Many of the cities in Brazoria County have ActionS groups.  Most of them meet in churches but the Lake Jackson group meets in the Lake Jackson Civic Center.  Programs include socializing, games and education.  The Angleton center includes the City Drug Store domino players.  For many years a group of people met at the Angleton City Drug Store to play dominos.  When the store closed the game was transferred to the ActionS site. The group plays dominos but does not participate in the lunch.  Normal group size is about ten to twenty participants. Some of the participants are brought to the center by ActionS vans but many have their own transportation.  Any senior can participate in the fellowship by just walking in.  Free meals are provided to people who prequalify.  People who do not qualify for free meals can participate in the lunch by paying for it in advance. 

Freeport does not have an ActionS center.  It had one at one time meeting at the VFW hall, but the facility was poor and the rent high.  The center was moved to Jones Creek and people from Jones Creek invited to join.  The Jones Creek people did not stay long and the people from Freeport gradually left.  Eventually the group became too small to be financially justifiable and was disbanded. 

The other activity of ActionS is to deliver prepared meals to senior citizens. Recipients must be able to refrigerate the meals and reheat them and have limited ability to leave the house.  There is also a means test since the budget will not pay for all applicants.  About 200 people are served and about one hundred seventy are on a waiting list.  The meals may be delivered daily in the city, but only weekly in the rural areas of the county.  If meals are not delivered daily, the senior is telephoned daily to check up on his or her status. 

ActionS has a budget of about $700,000.  About $500,000 is provided by a federal grant.  United Way provides about $100,000, the county provides about $50,000 and the rest is provided by miscellaneous donations.  There are about a dozen paid employees.  Each center has an employee to run the group and handle any necessary jobs at the location.  The drivers who deliver meals are also paid.  Murphy said that he uses paid drivers instead of volunteers since volunteers can’t be fired if they don’t show up.  ActionS is organized as a county function.  Murphy operates out of the county offices and can be contacted by calling the county. 

Murphy wants to set up a center in Freeport.  The center has to have a well lighted attractive meeting area and a kitchen for handling the meals and some office-type facilities.  Our fellowship hall would be a very good possible location.  Murphy and the church will discuss if this will be a good fit for us. 

As usual, the men had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast.  The next meeting will be Saturday, January 14.