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McKinney City Councilman directs Collin County's senior services
File photo - From left, Meals on Wheels cooks Rogenia Davidson, Nancy Bell and Juana Franco prepare meals in November 2011 at the Collin County Committee on Aging headquarters in McKinney. McKinney City Councilman Ray Ricchi is the new executive director of Meals on Wheels and Senior Services of Collin County.
McKinney City Councilman Ray Ricchi is now the executive director for Meals on Wheels and Senior Services of Collin County, the Collin County Committee on Aging (CCCOA) recently announced.
Ricchi, who began duties Jan. 1, will be responsible for the strategic planning and operation of Meals on Wheels and Senior Services of Collin County, in support of its mission and goals. He will attain and manage the resources necessary to meet the services, programs and activities that provide home-delivered lunch, supplemental evening, and weekend meals to senior citizens, as well as lunch meals at four senior centers and senior services in the county.
"I look forward to working with an experienced and dedicated staff whose mission is to serve our seniors in Collin County," Ricchi said. "Living in one of the fastest growing counties in the country creates a greater need for our increasing senior population. Collin County Meals on Wheels and Senior Services is an essential resource for our beloved seniors. The success of our program is determined by our ability to provide a service that helps seniors remain in their homes and independent as long as possible. We are blessed to have individuals, foundations, grants and corporate funding so we can continue to service the needs of our seniors in Collin County."
Meals On Wheels and Senior Services of Collin County, a division of CCCOA founded in 1976 to serve rapidly increasing needs of the area's seniors, daily prepares and supplies meals to more than 750 home-bound and isolated seniors. Those receiving meals through the Meals on Wheels program are unable to shop and/or prepare a balanced meal for themselves, and CCCOA staff and volunteers are often the only human contact the seniors have each day.
Juli Smith, director of senior services, had also been serving as the interim executive director until last fall, when the organization began an official search for a new executive director. When Ricchi became aware of their search, he got in contact with CCCOA about the opening, which he said others saw as "a great fit knowing what I'd been involved with on a career basis."
Ricchi's business career includes executive positions with Black & Decker, Master Lock, AlliedSignal, National Hot Rod Association, The Ballfields at Craig Ranch and Traxxas.
"For many years, I worked for Fortune 500 companies and in a corporate environment, and did very well," Ricchi said. "Over the last year, I've had a desire to work for an organization that really has an impact on people's lives. I saw where Meals on Wheels and Senior Services had a significant impact and served a great need for seniors in the area."
Senior services outside of Collin County Area Regional Transit (CCART), another CCCOA division, receive about $3,000 in city funding, while getting the majority of funds from federal and state grants, corporations and individual donors. Ricchi said that allocation wouldn't change despite his position on the City Council.
"My City Council business is totally separate from this," he said. "Municipalities are a very limited resource (for Meals on Wheels), and we're not expecting that to change."
Ricchi added that the organization's mission would stay the same: to make sure every senior who needs a meal gets a meal. Its vision moving forward is simply to further develop and expand that mission.
"The senior population is growing exponentially," he said. "Because Collin County is growing with young, married couples, their parents are coming in (to live here), so as years go by, that senior population is going to increase.
"We're going to need more services to accommodate them."
Wayne Rock, CCCOA board chair, who assisted in the search, said, "We are very excited to have Ray Ricchi leading Collin County Meals on Wheels and Senior Services as our executive director. Ray's proven success and experience in both the public and private sectors will enable us to keep up in these challenging economic times. His service leadership and involvement in Collin County over the past 15 years will provide the essential skills to prepare for the continued needs of our Collin County seniors."
Ricchi is serving his second term on the City Council, and was formerly chairman of the McKinney Economic Development Corporation Board, chairman of the McKinney Chamber of Commerce, and President of McKinney Little League Baseball.
He serves as a board member for the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary, McKinney YMCA, Boy Scouts of America, Lone Star District, and is an honorary board member of the Public Safety Scholarship Foundation.
Greater support and awareness of the services offered are the main goals in his newest role, he said, and ones that have been further emphasized by calls in recent weeks from residents who weren't aware such services were available in the county.
"We provide 750 meals every day; that's incredible," he said. "It's the best-kept secret in Collin County."
Ricchi was honored in 2011 as one of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas Fathers of the Year and was named one of the 21st leaders for the 21st century by Inside Collin County Business in 2008.
He has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina, where he majored in economics and finance. He has lived in McKinney since 1991.
For more information, contact Meals on Wheels of Collin County at 927-562-6996, or visit www.mealsonwheelscc.org.
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