BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – FeedMore WNY’s Meals on Wheels program provides a critical service to home-bound seniors and disabled people in our community who can’t get out to shop or who can’t safely cook at home. But, right now, there is a critical need for more volunteers to step up to get meals to their doors.
“Our operations would grind to a halt if it wasn’t for the support and compassion of our volunteers,” said FeedMore WNY Communications Director Catherine Shick, “so we really do need the community to help us out.”
Every year, 3,400 people in WNY are served by Meals on Wheels volunteers who bring two meals to their homes.
The volunteers deliver much more than just food, though. They are truly a lifeline for those who receive the meals.
“Often times, the volunteer who delivers their meal is the only person they may see for a day, so our volunteers not only are delivering these meals, but they’re delivering friendship, and even in some cases well-being checks that can save a life,” Shick explained, adding that FeedMore WNY has a team of social workers who follow up with clients if a volunteer reports an issue.
Dedicated volunteer Sherry Sauer takes her roll very seriously. She initially signed up to deliver meals one day a week, but very quickly added duties and now delivers four days every week.
“They’re not ‘clients’, they’re ‘my people’. And I love them and they love me back,” Sauer explained.
“They’ve become like my second family,” she added. “And the volunteers, they’re like my family, too.”
Shick says right now, though, Meals on Wheels is in desperate need of more volunteers, especially for routes in the city of Buffalo and in areas like Springville and Angola.
When there aren’t enough volunteers, FeedMore WNY staff have to cover routes, but that’s not sustainable.
“Honestly, it’s these volunteers who make it possible,” Shick said.
The commitment from a volunteer can be minimal. All you need is a car (or a willingness to be paired with someone with a car) and an hour at a time.
“Some people sign up and do every single day. Other people, maybe it’s better to do once a month for them, so whatever is best in your schedule, we will make it work,” Shick said.
FeedMore WNY’s Meals on Wheels program also offers an Adopt-A-Route option for corporate and business partners.
“And that’s great because a bunch of people sign up to be part of an Adopt-A-Route team and you rotate through your schedule, and you might be volunteering only once a month on your lunch hour,” Shick explained.
To learn more about how you can become a volunteer, call (716) 822-2002 or visit mealsonwheelswny.org