TUPELO • Alice Lute remembers the exact moment she realized the importance of Meals on Wheels.

“I went with a lady named Linda to deliver meals one day and we drove up to an apartment complex,” Lute said. “There was a man sitting in a wheelchair by the dumpster. I asked Linda if he was waiting on his meal and she said, ‘No, he’s not on the list. He sits there every day, hoping somebody won’t be home and he’ll be offered their meal.’ No elder, after working their whole life, should go without a meal.”

So it’s no wonder Lute is gung-ho about a Boston butt and bake sale that will benefit Meals on Wheels of Lee County this month at Traceway Manor, where Lute is a resident.

Boston butts, which will be smoked by Todd’s grocery, are $30 each and must be ordered and pre-paid by Aug. 23. They can be picked up on Aug. 29 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Traceway Manor parking lot, just in time for Labor Day.

Because man does not live by pork alone, Lute has coordinated a bake sale at Traceway Manor on Aug. 29, 30 and 31. All the goodies will be prepared by Traceway residents.

“We decided not to do cupcakes and cookies this time,” she said. “We’ll have cakes, pies, cobblers and breads. So far, we know we’ll have blueberry cobblers, peach cobblers, caramel cakes, Mississippi mud cakes, sourdough bread, banana nut bread, buttermilk pies and sweet potato pies. We’ll also have praline cookies.That’s the only cookie we’re allowing.”

All proceeds from the butts and bake sale will go directly to Meals on Wheels of Lee County, which delivers hot, balanced meals to 128 older adults in Lee County who are unable to prepare meals for themselves. The free lunchtime meals are delivered Monday through Friday, unless there’s a holiday.

“Some meals are prepared and donated for the program but the majority are purchased by Meals on Wheels,” said Kim Easterling, executive director of NextAge Mississippi, which oversees Meals on Wheels. “We have no corporate sponsors. We rely on churches, United Way funds and individual donors to make up the majority of our budget. It takes close to 300 volunteers a month to run our program.”

About $150,000 is needed every year to fund Lee County’s 11 delivery routes. But the need for expansion is growing.

“There are roughly 105 people on our waiting list,” Easterling said. “Every day we’re getting calls. If people knew this service was available, there would be even more.”

Easterling said it’s crucial for the program to have a consistent fund-raising year.

“Donations are subject to change year to year,” she said. “There are people who have donated in the past but maybe they’ve passed away or moved away or directed those funds to other places. You can’t tell a meal recipient, ‘Here’s your food today, but we might not be here tomorrow.’”

Last year at the fundraiser, Traceway sold about 95 pork butts.

“We could have sold 100 more,” Lute said. “People kept coming up and saying, ‘Have you got one more? Did anybody pass theirs up?’”

To purchase a ticket for a Boston butt, go by Traceway Manor at 2800 W. Main St. or Methodist Senior Services at 109 S. Broadway; or visit the Meals on Wheels Lee County Facebook page; or call (662) 316-2293 or (662) 231-1614.

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