Critical need for Meals on Wheels volunteers

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email | facebook
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Pain at the pump is affecting more than just your wallet. Meals on Wheels has lost a number of volunteers due to the rising prices, and the organization now has a critical need for help for its south Richmond routes.

The organizers at Meals on Wheels want you to know exactly what you are asking for. All they want is 2 hours of your time once a month, and the route you'll be delivering on is between just 7 and 10 miles long.

Volunteers at the Meals on Wheels Distribution Center in south Richmond pack up and deliver meals to 90 homebound seniors and disabled adults every weekday. Rachael Hymen started volunteering several years ago. She's staff now but still delivers twice a week, and drives all the way from her home in Dinwiddie to do it.

"It's very rewarding when you see someone elderly or someone sick, shut-in that you are helping. It's really worth it. It's a wonderful things to participate in to be a volunteer," Rachel said.

The need for services is growing, and these folks are expecting to add at least 20 more people with more routes in the coming months - creating a critical need for volunteers. But the organization has a number of things working against them right now in their efforts to recruit. The distribution center recently moved locations from a church to an industrial park. It's better for Meals on Wheels because they can have a giant refrigerator, but some people don't like change. The other main reason - rising gas prices, but leaders say they aren't trying to break your bank.

"All that we ask of any person is just once a month, once a month to come in with their cooler at 10:45 and then their deliveries are completed by 1 o'clock," said Jeannie Garris, Meals on Wheels Field Operations Manager. "You don't have to have any kind of a special vehicle, just a very standard cooler that most people have anyways, and even if you don't have a 38 inch quart sized cooler, but you've got two or three of the soft sided ones, that's fine."

And if volunteering with Meals on Wheels just didn't fit your schedule, consider a donation. For an individual, agency or corporations, it's tax deductible. You can download a volunteer application on the Meals on Wheels' website. If you don't have internet access, call 934-1952.

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