Tonawanda News

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July 7, 2014

Volunteers on wheels

Meals on Wheels locations in region always looking for helping hands

Tonawanda News — Walking into the North Tonawanda Meals on Wheels offices one recent Friday morning, the air is full of the scent of baking ... fresh banana muffins prepared by kitchen staff, destined to be delivered to those who receive meals through the organization.

A sign hangs on the wall nearby: “Volunteers do not get paid NOT because they are worthless, BUT because they are priceless.”

The North Tonawanda Meals on Wheels — as well as other Meals on Wheels and other home-delivered meal services in the region — is always in need of more helping hands to assist with delivering nutritious meals to home-bound residents of the area.

On that recent morning at the NT site, located at the Twin Cities Community Outreach building on Ridge Road, acting coordinator Pam Hill was working on route sheets, finding ways to make sure all the stops are covered. NT Meals on Wheels serves about 120 people, although not all may receive meals any given day, she said. There were 117 stops on the nine routes that day, each with a driver and server.

What’s needed most right now, Hill said, are volunteers willing to step up and take routes when the regular volunteers can’t make it, for one reason or another.

“That’s a problem; we have trouble filling in the slots,” she said. “People need time off, they go on vacation, they have things to do. I understand that, they’re volunteers.”

Servers, who take the meals up to the homes and interact with those receiving them, are needed most of all, Hill said.

“I just had another couple retire. They get to a certain point and it’s just too much. I think the average age of our volunteers is around 70,” she said. “I had a couple people come in and put in applications and they just want to drive. And it makes it hard when I need to fill in for people.”

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