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Chatham County Council on Aging has urgent need for meal delivery volunteers

Posted Friday, January 7, 2011

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

“The need in our community for basic nutrition continues to grow. This is not a simple issue and the solution depends relies on a community willing and able to volunteer time on a regular basis,” said Angel Dennison, director of the Council on Aging. “Our wait list continues to grow, not because of a funding problem, but because we can’t provide the home-delivered meals without volunteers.”

Volunteers can choose to deliver meals one or more days a week, or just once or twice a month. Others are needed to fill in as needed. A few routes have been adopted by groups whose members take turns delivering the meals. The program currently serves 70 people across the county and there is a waiting list of 16 people.

“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.

Jeannie Ellington, manager of program operations, and Kim Wieland, volunteer coordinator, provide training for the volunteers.

“We need at add at least 16 more people to the service, but to meet that goal 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 the transport containers.” Volunteers typically pick up and deliver meals between 10:30 am and noon, depending on the route location.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Kim Wieland at the Council on Aging, 919-542-4512, extension 236, or email Kim Wielend.

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