Senior Citizens Struggling to Find Food in the Valley

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BROWNSVILLE – At least 1,000 people over the age of 60 are on a wait list to get one hand-delivered hot meal a day from the Meals on Wheels Program.

But an 80-year-old man is taking matters into his own hands in his fight for food. He’s known as the "Can Man".

“My name is J.R. Johnson, but everybody calls me Bill,” he tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS. “Social Security don’t pay a whole lot.”

Johnson says he feeds himself by picking up aluminum cans around Cameron County.

He works all day long from his wheelchair.

“I get fifty cents a pound for cans,” he says.

We asked him if that was enough.

“Well, it ain’t enough. But I have to do it until I break down on these wheelchairs,” he explains.

Johnson says he sometimes covers 35 miles a day. He says his wheelchair runs seven days a week.

He added he keeps three more on-rotation, tucked away in his front yard.

“I can’t hold out to walk. I got COPD, I can’t hold out to walk,” he tells us. “That’s one thing about it. I got rods in my legs. I got a new hip, (and) then my back’s busted up.”

Johnson says despite his disabilities, he enjoys his rides. He says he’s not interested in a handout.

Anyone over the age of 60 and in need of help with getting meals may be eligible to get free food from Meals on Wheels.

The program also provides centers where people can go to get a free meal.

But be prepared to wait for home delivery since 1,000 people are on that waiting list.

A spokeswoman with the program says in order to move forward the program needs more funding.

You can also find help at the Food Bank RGV. Those in need of food assistance can call 956-682-8101, option 2.


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