Meals-on-Wheels Celebrates National Philanthropy Day

Image: The Burton Family — (L to R): Kay Burton Kelm, Mary Burton and Larry Burton, honored at National Philanthropy Day.

The Burton Family — (L to R): Kay Burton Kelm, Mary Burton and Larry Burton, honored at National Philanthropy Day.

Meals-on-Wheels celebrated the 30th Annual National Philanthropy Day on November 18th by honoring the Jack Burton Family at a luncheon held at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth. The annual event was sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Over 500 people gathered to honor non-profit organizations, private foundations, corporations, clubs and individual donors from all over North Texas. The Board of Trustees chose the Jack Burton Family of Cleburne as this year’s honoree because of their long-time support and involvement with Meals-on-Wheels.

“The Burton’s have been more than wonderful friends of Meals-on-Wheels – they have helped make the Meals-on-Wheels family what we are today, and we are all most grateful,” said Vinsen Faris, Meals-on-Wheels executive director.

National Philanthropy Day is the special day set aside each year to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy — and those people active in the philanthropic community — have made to our lives, our communities and our world. The theme for National Philanthropy Day this year was “Change the World with a Giving Heart.” 

Past Meals-on-Wheels’ Philanthropy Day honorees include TXI, The Joe Barton Family Foundation, The Waxahachie Foundation, Walgreen’s Distribution Center, Mr. Art Norton, Community Bank, United Way of Johnson County, Lowell & Shirley Smith, The Alton & Fay Talbert Memorial Fund, The Heritage Assembly, Mrs. Pat (Mary Anne) Wilkirson, and Bank of America Cleburne Banking Center.

“Like all of our previous honorees, the Burton Family is helping to move the mission of Meals-on-Wheels forward, and we all owe them our sincerest thanks,” added Faris.

Dr. Jack Burton was an optometrist and established Cleburne Eye Clinic in 1949. He served on the Texas Department of Aging Board of Directors, and is a past chairman of Meals-on-Wheels’ Board of Trustees. His commitment to serving the elderly, especially the homebound, was second to none. He was very instrumental in organizing the first Meals-on-Wheels’ Golf Benefit, a tradition that carries on 23 years later. “He just felt like the community had been good to him and so he just wanted to give back,” said his daughter, Kay Kelm. “He was just a very civic-minded and patriotic person,” she added.

His daughter, Kay and son, Larry followed in her father’s footsteps. Kay served as a Meals-on-Wheels’ Board Trustee from 2003 to 2007. Through her affiliation with the In His Name Circle of Kings’ Daughters, Kay continues to help by delivering meals on a regular basis. Her mother, Mary helps during the noontime deliveries. Larry is a minister for the First United Methodist Church of Spur, and has been also involved with the local Meals-on-Wheels program in his community. “People were very important to Dad. It didn’t matter their race or color or creed,” Larry said. “We are very community oriented… I just don’t remember a time in our lives when we weren’t and I hope I pass that on to my kids.”

Kay concluded: “It’s (philanthropy) going to come back to your family some time or another. It circles around.”

Meals-on-Wheels is a community benefit organization serving the residents of Johnson & Ellis counties for 33 years. If you are interested in volunteering, donating, or if you know of someone who could benefit from Meals-on-Wheels services, please contact the Meals-on-Wheels offices at 817-558-2840, 972-351-9943, or online at