COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–A local Meals on Wheels program that feeds thousands of senior citizens in Central Ohio is in desperate need of volunteers this Labor Day Weekend, according to organizers.
LifeCare Alliance has dozens of coolers packed with food filling its lobby. Some are ready to go out, but there aren’t enough volunteers to deliver them to people in need.
“Really is heartbreaking to think that we might not be able to get these meals out,” said Clear Eastman who is the volunteer coordinator for the program.
“Thirty frozen routes and about 20 hot routes still needed so that’s close to 50 volunteers that we still need just for Labor Day alone not including the weekend,” she said while explaining the need for Monday.
Between Friday and Labor Day, there are 234 open routes, 155 are frozen deliveries which account for several meals.
“We’re still seeing that with the folks they are just afraid to go out sometimes and especially with the variant now, so it’s just put a real ratchet into people’s supplies at their house,” said Chuck Gehring, the President and CEO of LifeCare Alliance.
He explained they’ve seen a 65 percent increase in need during the pandemic.
“You’re not only delivering a meal, but you’re delivering a little love and a little conversation for a few minutes,” he said.
Eastman is urging people to give them a call if they have time to serve this weekend.
“My husband has been ‘voluntold’ that he’s getting a route on Labor Day. So just whatever we can do to get more people to sign up volunteer I’ll do whatever I can to get people trained.”
Gehring added the meals on wheels program has taken a volunteer hit because of the pandemic.
“We had about 100 companies that regularly let their employees out at lunchtime to deliver mess around their buildings. Well, we lost all that because they sent them home.”
His goal is to get between 1,000 and 1,500 volunteers.
Their system currently has 7,000 volunteers who work on and off.
Gehring said there’s a need across the board.
He said in many areas the meals will be brought to the communities. They just need a driver to take the delivery to the doorsteps of their clients.
“The outer counties we really need a lot of help, the Morse Road corridor, out east side with Reynoldsburg, Whitehall, always a huge need, Grove City, we need some more people basically. There’s a route open anywhere you wanna go,” said Gehring.
Click here to learn more on how to sign up at https://www.lifecarealliance.org/volunteer/