Increased need for Meals on Wheels requires more volunteers

Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 4:35 PM CDT
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At the pickup point for Meals on Wheels, you'll often see Bob Nelson preparing for another delivery route.

"I volunteered to help out and do some extra routes and I really enjoy this," said Nelson.

All the volunteers are appreciated during this time of extra demand. Rebecca Behnke has watched the need increase, while more seniors choose to stay safe at home.

"We're up to about 500 meals that we're packing right now. We're used to packing about 350," said Behnke.

Seniors who used to eat at the Center for Active Generations have transitioned to Meals on Wheels delivery. Others have signed up for the first time due to safety concerns with the pandemic. For many, Bob may be the only person who comes to their door today.

Dennis Smith just received his meal and caught Bob on his way out to say thanks.

"They're angels in this current situation that we have today, out exposing themselves, and yet diligently doing a good job every day," said Smith.

They both miss the conversation with each stop. For now, Bob has found another way to keep in touch.

"But luckily the drivers are used to the routes they typically do, so they know those individuals and will take and call them to make sure they're ok. They're still getting that double-check even though we're not seeing them face to face," said Behnke.

Many of the volunteers with the Meals on Wheels program are seniors as well. As they understandably choose to back off from volunteering to also stay home, the need for more drivers is increasing every day.

"It's really neat to have the opportunity to support these people, and what Meals on Wheels does the Center for Active Generations, they go above and beyond to get everything taken care of for you," said Nelson.