The number of volunteer drivers for ‘Meals on Wheels’ deliveries in the Lamar area has been dramatically reduced and replacement volunteers are needed. Darren Glover, Operations Director for Prowers Area Transit and Diane Williams, Director of the Lamar SAGE program at the Lamar SOS Center said the lack of drivers will greatly impact senior citizens and shut-ins who rely on ‘Meals on Wheels’ for their daily hot meal.
Williams said he usually relied on four volunteer drivers, but those slim numbers have been reduced to only about two. “We are scheduling around where we can and we’ve had some volunteer help from the churches, but they aren’t able to devote that time needed to us through the year,” she explained. Williams said she’s been working for SAGE for the past ten years when she started as a volunteer, and things have changed since then, “We used to have so many volunteer drivers back then, but a lot of people grew older and retired and unfortunately several of our older volunteers have passed away. Right now, it’s almost impossible to get someone to volunteer.”
Williams explained that hot meals are delivered Monday through Friday. “We’ve had as many as 75 to 98 meals delivered by our volunteers each morning, but that number changes. Right now we have about 42 meals on one route.” She said the heavier schedule uses two volunteers; one to drive and another to bring the meal to the house. Williams added that a person can volunteer for only one or two days a week, it doesn’t have to obligate them for the entire five days. “Volunteers show up around 9:30 to collect the meals and they don’t need a large car to do it. Just a regular car will work fine.” She added that usually the daily deliveries are through by around 11am or just a little after. “The more people we have volunteering, the shorter we can make the delivery route, so it will take less time, it’s just that we have a very immediate need right now for our drivers.” She explained that SAGE will work with a person’s available schedule, so if they can only devote one or two days a week, that’s fine. She added that this is a volunteer situation, “I had one person who thought they were going to be paid for this. I wish we could, but it’s purely voluntary. Our funds go into the meals and there’s only me and one other person who prepares the meals and packages them for delivery.
If anyone can devote even one day a week to SAGE Nutrition, call right away at 336-7115.
By Russ Baldwin
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