Eugene (KMTR) - It's good to feel needed, but it's not a good situation right now for a program that delivers food to seniors. Many more people need meals but there are not enough volunteers available.
The Meals on Wheels program provides healthy meals for seniors who either financially or physically unable to cook for themselves. The need for the service has jumped 33% in the last year.
Tod Thayer, executive director of the Oregon Pacific Chapter of the American Red Cross, says they never turn anyone away; drivers are doubling up their routes. But with more volunteers, they can stretch dollars and run more efficiently.
“When we don't have volunteers it really, really stretches things thin and it may mean that people have to wait a couple of hours before they can get their meal,” says Thayer.
Not only are drivers delivering 300 meals a day, they're delivering human contact and they are part of an informal wellness program.
“Because so many of these volunteers have been on the same route for so long, they might know that individual well enough to know whether or not they may be exhibiting signs of illness. And so, we can put a call out to that individual to see if they're okay,” said Thayer.Drivers are needed to help cover 16 different routes and volunteers are needed in the kitchen, too. The shifts are less than two hours long. Click here for more information.