A local nonprofit is seeking volunteers to help reach more people in need during the holiday season.
In order to build a stronger, caring community, Meals on Wheels Chatham-Kent promotes health and independence by providing balanced nutritious and appealing meals to people in need of their services.
Clients include seniors, people recovering from illness or surgery, and people with disabilities.
“There are really no referrals that are necessary from a doctor,” said Melissa Bishop, Volunteer and Community Services Coordinator for Meals on Wheels.
Meals on Wheels is a nonprofit organization that is run through St. Andrews residence. Each meal is prepared at St. Andrews by kitchen staff. Once meals are ready, volunteers help deliver them out into the community.
“Within Chatham, it’s all volunteers. And then in the rural areas, we have a driver who drives the Meals on Wheels truck, which has a heater and cooler in it,” said Bishop. “Our driver hits all of the rural areas through Chatham-Kent. That happens every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”
Bishop said each meal costs as little as $7. 25. The meals include a dinner roll and soup, the hot entree of the day and a dessert.
She said people could call and register themselves online, or families and friends can register for the clients if they so choose.
While Meals on Wheels would like to reach as many people in need of meals as possible, they still need volunteers. In fact, the need for volunteers is at an all-time high.
“Our numbers have increased like 150 percent during COVID-19, and they’re continuing to rise,” said Bishop. “It’s putting more time constraints on our current driver. If we had more helping hands, we could definitely reach more people.”
As it stands, volunteers are required for kitchen help and meal delivery. While there are no age requirements, volunteers are asked to be available between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Bishop said volunteers require a background check and a valid driver’s license. In addition, volunteers need to have their COVID vaccinations as well as a record of their vaccinations.
She said they are particularly in need of extra hands in Ridgetown. Much like the Blenheim drop-off, Bishop said the driver would deliver meals to one drop-off location where volunteers could pick up meals for distribution.
Thore interested in volunteering are encouraged to fill out a volunteer form online at mealonnwheelsck.com.
A Vulnerable Sector Check through Chatham Kent Police Services is required for all volunteer positions with direct client service. Volunteers may obtain this online or in-person at Chatham-Kent Police Services. The cost, which usually takes 5-6 weeks to process, will be reimbursed by Meals on Wheels. Meals will provide all necessary training on Wheels Chatham.
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News