On December 16, 2020

Got wheels? Meals on Wheels needs drivers

By Curt Peterson

On Dec. 7 the Rutland County Meals on Wheels program publicized its urgent need for volunteers to help package and deliver meals to their beneficiaries. The Killington route is particularly short of drivers.

The Rutland program is served by Lindley Food Services and East Creek Catering Co. from their Belden Road location. Twenty-five year veteran manager Penny Jones told the Mountain Times a crew of three people prepare 5,000 meals for eligible beneficiaries every day.

All meals are made “from scratch” and from local food sources whenever possible. Eligible recipients include anyone over age 60, people with disabilities, MoW volunteers, and recipients’ spouses regardless of age.

“Before the pandemic we were making 2,000 to 2,500 meals, less than half what the demand is now,” Jones said. “There were so many people out of work and looking for something to do that we had plenty of drivers. Now that they are working again we have the same increased demand, but fewer people to deliver the meals.”

The Killington route includes Rutland Town, Mendon and Killington, and includes 17 stops. Deliveries are made on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – Monday’s meals include an extra for Tuesday.

“We have a driver for Thursdays, but we desperately need volunteers for Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” Jones said.

Volunteers would pick up the meals at 80 Belden Road in the morning. Drivers are reimbursed $.50/mile for driving the deliveries, Jones said.

Meals on Wheels isn’t just about food – half the job for delivery volunteers is their “wellness check” for many seniors who are living alone. For many of them the driver is the only person with whom they make contact all day.

The need for drivers is dire, according to Jones. Anyone interested in discovering the opportunities for volunteering can contact her at 1-800-642-5119 for details.

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