Gas prices make it difficult for Meals on Wheels to find new volunteers - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Gas prices make it difficult for Meals on Wheels to find new volunteers

Record gasoline prices are making it difficult for the Meals on Wheels program to recruit new volunteers.  Despite that, long-time loyal volunteers are absorbing the high gas prices.

Some 450 volunteers keep the Meals on Wheels program going.  The non-profit organization is always in need of additional volunteers.

Ruth Steinmetz and her husband have been delivering meals to homebound seniors for 26 years.  She says, "We're lucky enough that we have a decent income so we can afford it to help others. 

She says despite rising gasoline prices, they will continue to help others:  "Mostly it's only once a week.  They can pick a day where they normally will be free, they'll only have one route and one day, and if they get to know the people they'll realize how much it means to them."

The Meals on Wheels program in Metro Louisville has lost only a few volunteers because of the record gas prices.  But it is having a harder time recruiting new volunteers.

Faith Aeilts of the Senior Nutrition Program explains, "Most of our volunteers are very dedicated to the people they serve.  They see them weekly, they develop relationships, and so they are continuing to deliver.  What we have found is that it more difficult to recruit volunteers, and we're delivering about 500 meals a day, so we're needing volunteers out there to deliver about 10 to 12 meals on each meal route that we deliver."

Aeilts says the program could easily use 40 to 50 more drivers.  Because they are needed in every part of the county, she says the volunteers will be able to stay close to home and therefore use as little gasoline as possible.

She adds, "We are also finding volunteers in the past have helped us to cover routes that are open that we need substitutes for.  And some of the volunteers are finding it more difficult to add on to what they're normally doing."

Aeilts says Meals on Wheels is looking at creative ways to attract additional volunteers.  "For organizations, maybe a Sunday school class or civic organizations to adopt a route that they would say, every Monday we're gonna deliver in this area.  So they're helping us meet their need, but if there is four or five different people delivering, that's one time a month and they could save on expenses.

If you're interested in the Meals on Wheels program, you can call 574-6325 to volunteer.

Or you can go to the website listed above.

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