By STEPHANIE THOMPSON
people Editor 

Volunteers needed to deliver meals

 

Star photo by Stephanie Thompson

Melynda Lenling shows what the old, hard plastic trays look like.

Each day, homebound senior citizens receive a home cooked meal at their door.

These meals are brought by volunteers of the Meals on Wheels program at the Golden Hour Senior Center.

Melynda Lenling, GHSC home delivered meals coordinator, said the program has five routes with 10 to 20 people on each route. Each day, food is delivered to the people on those routes. The routes are spread throughout the entire city of Green River and Jamestown, but are split up based on neighborhoods, so it's easier for volunteers to deliver the meals.

"It takes about an hour to complete (a route)," Lenling said.

Currently, 13 volunteers deliver meals to people's homes, but Lenling is hoping more residents will volunteer. Some of these 13 volunteers deliver meals every day, while others deliver meals one day a week.

"I think we're just trying to fill out the rest of the week's routes," Lenling said.

Thursdays and Fridays are when more volunteers are needed.

Lenling said those who volunteer will arrive at the center around 10:30 a.m. every day to pick up the meals. Those same volunteers are usually done by noon.

"Now that we switched our carrying trays, it's a whole lot easier for the drivers," Lenling said.

The old trays, which cost $5 each, were hard plastic with areas divided for food. Both hot and cold foods were placed on the same tray, which was a problem when they have a dessert that melts or a side salad.

The new trays, which cost 6 cents each, are disposable and are separate. When a volunteer comes to pick up the new trays, they pick up the hot food tray, which consists of meat, veggies and potatoes or rice, and the cold food tray, which consists of salad, dessert or fruit. Once the food is put in the hot and cold trays, the trays are vacuum sealed shut with a plastic covering. They are then placed in a hot pack or a cold pack container for the volunteers to pick up.


Lenling said another perk to the new trays are they are microwaveable and oven safe. This gives the senior the option of whether to eat it right away or save it for later and reheat it in the oven or microwave.

The new trays may be great, but they won't do much good if they don't have someone to deliver them to the seniors.

She is hoping to get more volunteers to fill the void. Those who would like to volunteer can stop by the GHSC and visit with Lenling or they can call her at 872-3223.

Lenling said she would be happy to take those thinking about volunteering out on a couple of routes and see if they like it first. If they think it is something they can do, then she will have them fill out a volunteer application.

It is a rewarding volunteer position because this might be the only meal some of these seniors eat every day and it may be the only person-to-person interaction they receive.

"They are checking to make sure the patron is alright," Lenling said.

 

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