Posted on

Senior meal program needs volunteers to help expand

Senior meal program needs volunteers to help expand Senior meal program needs volunteers to help expand

Meals have not been served at designated senior citizen sites since the state went into lockdown, in accordance with the Safer at Home order March 25. However, through delivery of lunches to the homebound, a need has been identified to expand services when the state reopens.

Many of the Meals on Wheels routes are full or the individual lives in an area where there are no volunteers to deliver. Volunteers are especially needed in the Cadott area, for meal drop-off.

“The obvious benefit, is the participants receive a nutritious meal that they otherwise cannot prepare,” said Kelly Zimmerman, nutrition program coordinator. “It’s the less obvious that is just as beneficial. Many are isolated and look forward to the visit. A volunteer will also check up on the person to see how they are doing and if they are experiencing difficulties with anything else.”

Once volunteers go through an application process that includes a background check, there is a brief program training and the volunteers can start delivering. Ready-to-go meals are picked up at a designated location, and drivers are given a name and address where the meal should be taken.

“We have volunteers that deliver once a week, twice a month, as a fill-in or even seasonally,” said Zimmerman. “We know everyone is busy and will work with what fits your schedule.”

Meals are delivered between 11 a.m and noon, Monday through Friday, with some days a little longer, depending on the route. There is no delivery on weekends or holidays.

“We have some groups that pick a day and rotate amongst themselves,” said Zimmerman. “The more volunteers we have, the more we can utilize and rotate.”

Volunteers use their own vehicle and may choose reimbursement mileage for the route.

“If they choose not to request reimbursement,” said Zimmerman, “they can be assured that those dollars stay in the Meals on Wheels program, thereby allowing us to serve more meals.”

The Chippewa County Meals on Wheels Program not only wants to expand to deliver meals to everyone who is eligible to receive the service, they also need to identify where/who those people are who need the service. If someone is 60 years old or older, home bound and has difficulty preparing nutritious meals, they can call Zimmerman at 715-738-2590.

“In order for us to expand service, we need more volunteers to deliver meals,” said Zimmerman. “The program relies on volunteers to deliver meals to keep the program sustainable.”

Volunteers can also contact Zimmerman for an application to begin delivering or for more information.

“This program often leads to other services that can help people stay and flourish in their own home,” said Zimmerman. “Volunteers can be the key to that connection.”