Aroostook Community Matters: Meals on Wheels needs more volunteer drivers

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 11:03 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -Nutritious Food is important for every age, but a lack of volunteers is threatening one community program that provides Meals to our older, homebound neighbors. In this week’s Aroostook Community Matters, Corey Bouchard takes a look at some of the current challenges faced by the Meals on Wheels Program..

Sherry Beaulieu - Manager - Volunteer Services / RSVP - Aroostook Agency on Aging " Volunteers are vital to this process, vital to this service need it’s very difficult to make it happen without them, it’s virtually impossible”

Kelley Fitzpatrick - Manager - Nutrition Services - Aroostook Agency on Aging " Currently, the meals on wheels program has 45-50 volunteer drivers throughout the entire county.we all know that the county is a very large place, we all know that 45-50 volunteers sounds like a lot, and it is, but it’s not quite enough.”

The Need for volunteers is dire, with number of volunteers decreasing and the number of people relying on the meals on wheels service increasing.

Sherry “Things have changed, we dont have as many volunteers that are able to do this for us, like we said we’re kinda stretching them a little bit so we need folks,we need more people to come in and help.”

Kelley” That does present a greater challenge and we hope to not be in that too often, right now we are in a bit of a situation, we are managing to get those routes delievered however that’s not efficient, and not sustainable, if it comes to a point that we do not have enough drivers available to meet the needs then we may have to start creating waitlists”

Fitzpatrick says the work isn’t too hard to do, but it’s more than just handing out meals.

Kelley " A volunteer driver shows up, the meal bags get loaded up into their cars, they get a roster with their consumer names on it and they go and deliver them. they’re not only providing meals to these consumers, but they’re also providing a social connection to these consumers who may not see anybody else for quite a long time.”

Anyone can get involved, Beaulieu adds, you just have to want to make a difference.

Sherry” The criteria is someone with a giving servants heart, someone who wants to be there for others, someone who wants to make a difference.we do ask they are at least 18 or up”

Information for how to get involved with the Meals on Wheels program, will be on our website, Corey Bouchard, NS8

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