October 02, 2013 - With only seven current drivers for Meals on Wheels in Addison Township, Sharon Geare of Addison Township's Senior Center said they are currently looking for more volunteers.
Sharon Geare prepares food for the Meals on Wheels program. Photo by Trevor Keiser (click for larger version)
"If I had doubled that amount it would be great. The more drivers I have will make the route smaller," Geare said. "I'm always, always, always looking for volunteer drivers, even if I have enough drivers, I'm still looking, only because they get sick or go on vacation."
The Meals on Wheels program is for homebound seniors and is delivered everyday Monday through Friday. Geare said they send one "hot nutritious meal" in the afternoon and a cold meal if an evening meal is needed.
"Through our program to the seniors we also provide Ensure if they need it on certain days," she noted. "We also make sure they have survival kits which is just some dry pantry food in their home in case we have to call because of a snow day or some emergency and we can't get to the house."
Geare said she only asks drivers to volunteer about an hour of their time once a week or every other week.
"Whatever their schedule is I will accommodate them and whatever works out (best) for the volunteer. "They have to use their own car, own gas and time. The township does not reimburse."
However if volunteers want to track their mileage and deduct on their tax forms at the end of the year, mileage forms are available at the senior center located at Addison Township Hall (1440 N. Rochester Road).
If no driver is available, Geare said she'll drive the meals out herself.
"Those meals are going to go out somehow," she said. "We're kind of like the post office they're going to get out rain, sleet and snow."
Meals are typically packed and ready to leave the senior center around 11:30 a.m.
"I'll receive the food around 11 a.m. and our first priority is our homebound seniors. They are served first," Geare said. "We pack the meals up, our volunteer comes in and we try to get them on the road as soon as possible."
Delivering the food is also a way to do a "wellness check" on the senior, Geare noted.
"When I have the volunteer deliver the meal they need to see either the senior, the caregiver or a family member, so we know we've seen or made contact with them," she said. "We never leave the meal without making a contact. If we don't make contact our next procedure is to try and notify a family member."
Lunch is also provided at the senior center Monday through Friday which is open from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
"I love Addison, the people here are wonderful and the volunteers are very inspiring for all that they do here," Geare said, who's worked with the Addison Senior Center for nine years.
"I've got the best volunteers I've ever had to work with and everything they give inspires a lot of others."
For more information about the Meals on Wheels program or to volunteer call Sharon Geare at 248-628-3388
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.