July 2 2013 12:00 AM

Greater Lansing Meals-on-Wheels program struggles to find volunteers

Courtesy photo

Tuesday, July 2 — The Tri-County Office on Aging is looking for an additional 100 people to deliver meals to the area’s older and disabled residents as part of its Meals-on-Wheels program.

The meals are delivered on 49 different routes throughout greater Lansing, each consisting of about 10 clients — that’s almost 500 households that are dependent on a program struggling to find enough volunteers.

Program Supervisor Ruth Pell said that since there aren’t enough volunteers, some clients are forced to pick up a week’s worth of meals at a time, which can be a difficult task for them.

The volunteer process is straightforward. After contacting the Greater Lansing Meals-on-Wheels or TCOA office, an hour-long training session is scheduled to inform the volunteer of delivery responsibilities and protocol when they are with clients. Since volunteers will have direct contact with those in the program, background checks will be given for anyone seeking to volunteer.

If a business is looking to become more involved in the community and is interested in volunteering as a group, the training session can be held at the place of work.

Once in the program, volunteers receive a route on which they will deliver meals to clients every day, week or month, depending on the volunteer’s availability. Each route takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

Meals-on-Wheels clients qualify for the program based on age or a disability that prevents them from preparing or obtaining meals themselves. For some clients, the very reason they participate in the program is because they are unable to leave their homes.

However, Pell said that Meals-on-Wheels is much more than just a food delivery service for area residents. It also is a program that watches over its clients.

“Volunteers deliver the food, but they also act as a second pair of eyes.” Pell said. “We want to help our clients however we can, so if a volunteer notices a person needs something, we will do our best to help.”

To help, contact:

Greater Lansing Area Meals-On-Wheels

5303 S. Cedar St., Lansing, MI 48911-3800

Ph: (517) 887-1460

Fax: (517) 887-8071