Longtime Tyler resident and experienced communications professional John Moore has been tapped to lead Meals on Wheels Ministry.
The announcement came Friday, two days after the organization’s board chairman announced CEO Kari Kietzer was no longer with Meals on Wheels.
The transition comes after months of turmoil within the organization and complaints from current and former employees, volunteers and donors about the organization’s management.
“John Moore brings a track record of leadership, an extensive communications background, and community connections to the Meals on Wheels Ministry, and we are excited that he has joined us,” said John Genung, chairman of the Meals on Wheels Ministry board of directors. “We look forward to John guiding the organization forward as we continue to provide a lifeline of meals to seniors in our region.”
Moore previously worked in community roles at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics, Stewart Regional Blood Center, and in broadcasting at KTBB and KNUE Radio in Tyler. He is also a syndicated newspaper columnist.
Meals on Wheels Ministry provides warm meals to seniors in six East Texas counties: Smith, Gregg, Henderson, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood.
It receives a combination of funding from donors and government sources, including the East Texas Council of Governments-Area Agency on Aging, and the Texas Department of Agriculture.
Moore’s family has a four-decade connection to Meals on Wheels, including as supporters in Tyler and Ponca City, Oklahoma, the latter being where his mother-in-law was a Meals on Wheels administrator for 39 years and is now a client.
It was that family connection that led Moore to volunteer at Meals on Wheels in Tyler earlier this year, according to a news release.
“I felt that supporting the Meals on Wheels Ministry was important, but I also was led to use my skillsets as a volunteer,” Moore said. “The Meals on Wheels Ministry, like other charitable organizations, has to rely on many funding sources, including the generosity of individuals, to operate.
“But, the backbone of Meals on Wheels are the volunteers,” he said. “The life experiences and backgrounds of those who give their time and expertise is truly amazing, and brings great value to the organization. Volunteering gave me clarity and a calling to do more. When the board invited me to consider the executive director position, I knew I was being led where I was supposed to be.”
As he takes the helm, Moore has several goals for the ministry including publicizing its work.
“Meals on Wheels dates back to the 1950s in America and most people know about us,” he said. “But, I think there’s a great opportunity to emphasize that what we do is more than just deliver nutritious food. Many of our clients are elderly with health issues and have few to no visitors.”
Moore praised the organization’s volunteers who he said provide human interaction and check on the clients who can remain in their homes and independent because of the service.
Moore said volunteer recruitment, serving more clients and fundraising are other goals for the organization.