In his July 30 Fort Worth Star-Telegram article about this installment of “Hometown Heroes,” a weekly series sponsored by Lockheed Martin, reporter Brian Lopez writes of hope amid COVID-19 closures and this First Church member and Haltom City resident who continues to serve the city’s seniors.
When a Haltom City Senior Citizen Center volunteer nominated First Church Member Bobbi Arthur for recognition in the Star-Telegram’s “Hometown Heroes” series, she said it was because of Bobbi’s never-ending selflessness to help members of the Center. “If someone needs something, Bobbi would find a person who could do those things for her members,” Kristofek says. “Calling Bobbi is like calling their mother.”
From the day the city manager closed the Center, Bobbi says that she worried about the people who spent so much of their time there. “It’s a place where they socialized and were taken care of,” she says. “For some, their only family is the center staff.”
Bobbi says that she worried most about how these people she had come to care so deeply for would be able to get food because so many of them don’t drive. “A lot of our folks have difficulty getting a hot meal,” she adds.
They came up with a plan to deliver meals from Sixty and Better Inc., a nonprofit organization devoted to providing resources for the elderly. “The emergency plan was overwhelming at first,” Bobbi relates. “We made phone calls to all of our seniors and put delivery routes together.”
Bobbi and her staff delivered 75 meals the first week, then 84, then 91, then 101, then 112, and so on. “With each bi-weekly delivery of meals, we were adding more folks,” she remembers, “and soon we were delivering to 133 meals on 13 routes.”
Bobbi says that this group often involved Dr. An Truong, Haltom City Mayor, members of the City Council, her two staff members, along with “the most incredible community volunteers.” They arrived on their designated days at the Center at 9:30 am and waited for the frozen dinners to arrive around 9:45 am; the volunteers would then get their route sheets, count the number of meals needed, and load up. The volunteers also deliver a snack bag from one of their community partners and word search puzzle books from another community partner.
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays Bobbi, her staff and volunteers stay at the Center and offer drive-through food distribution in which Haltom City Police direct traffic, and staff and volunteers load up their cars with boxes of perishables including chicken patties, milk, eggs, corn, oranges, and bread.
Bobbi also does a newsletter to accompany each delivery that lists community resources, updates on center friends, community resources for food, and even recipes from other members. Bobbi also keeps an eye on the Center’s Facebook page, where members stay connected and keep up with one another while staying safe at home.
“How blessed I am to be where I am and have the best city in the world who loves our seniors and helps no matter what’s needed,” Bobbi reflects. “Every night, I pray that God keeps me safe and well and watches over our seniors and my family through this.”
Kristofek describes Arthur’s passion for helping as contagious. The Center has had to turn down volunteers because they already had more than enough people.
“If everyone had a heart like Bobbi’s, the world would be a better place,” she said.
Brenda Selzer, who would take her husband Ronald Selzer to the Center, said Arthur has been there for her since her mother died about seven years ago. Arthur has made sure she felt safe and loved.
“One day, I was kind of sad because my husband was in the hospital, and she put a card — she just slid it in my door with a picture of my mom,” Seltzer said.
Without Arthur, Seltzer said her life would’ve been chaos. She wouldn’t have found a safe place for her mother or her husband.
“Bobbi never says, ‘What can you do for me?’ She says, ‘What can I do for you?’” Seltzer said.