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Chatham County Council on Aging seeks home meal delivery volunteers to meet record demand

Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - The Chatham County Council on Aging relies on a committed group of volunteers to serve and deliver an estimated 41,000 nutritious meals to older adults this year. Due to record-high demand, the Council needs 20 to 25 additional volunteers and back-up volunteers to deliver meals to older adults who are home-bound or are unable to prepare their own meals.

“The need in our community for basic nutrition is at an all-time high. Every day, we hear from families who are under increasing stress who are having trouble putting food on the table,” said Angel Dennison, director of the Council on Aging. Sometimes they are facing financial problems or the caregivers themselves are having health problems.

“They come to us with dignity and hope, relying on us to help them meet their most basic needs,” said Dennison. “But, our wait list continues to grow. While we provide weekly frozen meals to people on the wait list, we strongly prefer to engage community volunteers to bring fresh meals into the homes.” Without ample volunteers, some Chatham residents will not receive sufficient nutrition on a daily basis.

Volunteers can choose to deliver meals one or more days a week, or just once or twice a month. Others fill in as needed for various routes. A few routes have been adopted by groups whose members take turns delivering the meals. The program currently has eight routes serving more than 60 people across the county.

“The volunteers play such a vital role, much more than just delivering nutritious food,” said Dennison. “They take the time for friendly visits so that they connect with residents to reduce the amount of isolation they might otherwise feel. The visits help the agency monitor the health and well-being of clients, the need for home repairs and perhaps the need for other services.”

Volunteers also deliver holiday-themed gifts throughout the year, which are crafted by senior center program participants and other volunteers.

Evelyn White, volunteer coordinator at the Council on Aging, provides all training of volunteers for the home-delivered meal program.

Meals are prepared fresh daily by agency staff and are picked up by volunteers for delivery at several sites across the county. Each meal offers an average of 700 calories and meets the USDA recommended vitamins and nutrients for older adults.

“We need at add at least 10 more people to the service, and to accomplish that we need help with routes in different parts of Chatham County,” said Dennison. “Routes will be reconfigured to keep the delivery time to an hour, but it takes about two hours for the whole process, including picking up meals and returning meal transport containers.”

Volunteers typically pick up meals between 10:30 am and noon, depending on the route location.
Other volunteers work in the two senior centers to serve lunch to more than 100 people who are there for nutrition, exercise and social activities.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Evelyn White at the Council on Aging, 919-542-4512 or evelyn.white@ncmail.net.

 
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Chatham County Council on Aging seeks home meal delivery volunteers to meet record demand
Volunteers can choose to deliver meals one or more days a week, or just once or twice a month.
 
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