Jan 07, 2013 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
Baldwinsville’s Meals on Wheels program is in desperate need of drivers.
Operating out of Canton Woods Senior Center, the local program depends on the generosity of its volunteers to deliver hot and cold meals Monday through Friday to those who are in need and immobile. Unfortunately, during the winter months, the volunteer pool decreases in size.
“The need for drivers is great at this time because many of our drivers are going south,” said Donna Metz, the Baldwinsville Meals on Wheels coordinator. She added, “Our clients are growing and we have to add more routes.”
Delivering to Baldwinsville and parts of Liverpool, the operation depends on numerous volunteers to prepare and deliver meals, which reach 94 people in the greater Baldwinsville area daily. The program is also in need of volunteers to relieve those who consistently donate their time.
“We use seven drivers a day, each with about a one and a half-hour shift,” Metz said. “There are also five kitchen volunteers a day with a two-hour shift.”
Currently, there are 130 active volunteers in the kitchen and as drivers. That doesn’t include Metz or the program’s cook Pam Smith; she and Metz are the only paid members of the program.
“Our drivers are great. They are here through rain, snow and ice. The only time we are closed is when the schools are closed,” Metz said, noting that volunteer drivers donate their time, vehicles and gas to deliver meals. “Our kitchen volunteers are great, too. Some have been here for more than 25 years.”
While the program mostly serves the senior population (individuals who have just come out of the hospital and nursing homes), any homebound individual is eligible to become a client.
“Some of our clients don’t have family to help with food and groceries,” Metz said. “And, for some, our drivers are the only person clients will see all day.”
In addition to receiving meals five times a week, the program also offers weekend meals.
Ordering food through Renzi Food Service, Baldwinsville’s Meal on Wheels prepares deliveries at Canton Woods Senior Center, where meals are made fresh daily. Lunches consist of a sandwich, pudding or jello, a baked good and a fruit; dinner is a hot entrée with a vegetable, roll and potato.
“People call us up all the time and tell us how much they love our meals,” Metz said.
While volunteers are greatly needed at this time, the community can also help by giving to Meals on Wheels through donations, memorials and endowments.
“Every little bit helps,” Metz said.
To become a volunteer, call 638-2171.