There are many older residents in Morrow County who depend on Seniors on Center to supply their daily sustenance through the Meals on Wheels program. But lately the program is facing a shortage - not of meals - but of volunteers.
“We desperately need home delivery drivers,” says Deb Ruth of Seniors on Center. “We have eight routes a day, possibly nine.”
Ruth, who is the Nutrition Site/Operations Manager, says some drivers work everyday and some don’t. Five to six drivers would be nice.
“Here’s the problem,” Ruth says. “We need them on the longer routes out of town.”
The meals leave the Seniors Center about 11 a.m. and the drivers may not get back until 1:00 or 1:30 p.m.
“Not a lot of drivers can give up that much time,” she explains. Some drivers have health issues and can’t do it anymore, or they want the shorter routes in town. Some have taken jobs and moved away. There is a list of substitute drivers and they are currently using people from that list.
Some routes are 38 to almost 50 miles and, though mileage is paid at 55 cents a mile, if the driver’s car isn’t economical, it can be a factor, Ruth notes. Meals are delivered Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, with extra meals delivered for days that are skipped.
“We’ve never been in a situation quite like this,” Ruth says. “We’ve always had drivers that we could call, but our sub list is getting depleted. She and some staff members have been filling in as well.
Meals are delivered to about 90 residences currently, from Iberia to the southern end of the county. It costs about $150 per day to deliver meals which, Ruth says, adds up to about $25,000 - $30,000 a year. Title 3 dollars, levy monies and donations help cover the cost of the food, which is prepared by the Morrow County Hospital.
Volunteers go through a training session and go over the routes before starting delivery. Anyone interested in driving for the Meals on Wheels program can call Ruth at 419-946-6702 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday.