Meals on Wheels needs more volunteers to deliver meals on weekdays to Polk County residents

Polk County Senior Services Nutrition Coordinator Gail Dyer and intern Kelsey Reedy load cars with shelf-stable meals for Meals on Wheels’ clients. Because of growing need, more volunteers are needed for Polk County's Meals on Wheels program.

Because of the growing need in Polk County, Meals on Wheels is seeking more volunteers to deliver meals on weekdays to local residents.

With the assistance of about 60 volunteers, Meals on Wheels serves about 120 clients a day and delivers nearly 600 meals a week to those clients, Polk County Senior Services Manager Haley Suskauer said. Meals are delivered Monday through Friday. Shelf-stable and frozen meals are also delivered for holidays and inclement weather days.

“For our program to accommodate the increase in Meals on Wheels referrals that we’re receiving, we need at least 20 more volunteers,” she said.

Volunteers are responsible for picking up packed meals at one of Polk County’s senior center locations, delivering them on a specific route and then returning containers to the pick-up site. Volunteers also provide wellness checks to seniors during their visits.

To qualify to receive Meals on Wheels, a client must be a Polk County resident who is at least 60 years old, homebound and unable to shop or cook.

“For many of our volunteers, serving others gives them purpose in life,” Suskauer said. “They enjoy providing a meal to seniors to help them live independently. For example, one of our volunteers recently shared that the most rewarding part of being a volunteer to her was being able to meet and develop relationships with seniors in our community.”

The program is free to clients, she said, with charitable contributions accepted to help support Meals on Wheels.

“With more than 10,000 Americans reaching the age of 60 each day, the demand for programs like Meals on Wheels is increasing” Suskauer said. “Our program is dedicated to finding solutions to help our community’s seniors live independently in their homes and our volunteers pay a vital role in doing so. Our volunteers do more than just deliver meals – they are the connection to the outside world which can diminish from some of our seniors’ view otherwise.”

Learn more about Meals on Wheels and other Senior Services in Polk County online here or by calling (828) 894-0001.