Seniors who live alone, are homebound and/or just not feeling up to getting a meal prepared may just opt for not eating. Sadly, the number of folks in this dire situation is growing, said Linn Hogg, RSVP/Volunteers in Action of Central Kansas director
Programs like Meals on Wheels exist to prevent this from happening, said Hogg, whose office oversees the popular MOW locally. “But, we are desperately seeking volunteers to deliver the meal so we can expand delivery routes,” Hogg said.
There are currently 80 plus people in the City of Great Bend and 14 people in the city of Hoisington currently receiving meals. But there are another 10 people who are waiting to get into the program, and the list is expanding and more routes are needed.
“The problem is we don’t have enough people willing to step forward and help deliver those meals,” Hogg said.
“The time commitment to deliver meals is only about 30 to 60 minutes,” said Hogg. “However, the rewards last forever. The seniors who receive these meals are so grateful to see a smile and their loved ones are happy that someone has checked on their family member.”
Her office receives at least two to three calls a week from seniors, or their children, who need to receive this service, she said. She went on to note that most of these seniors end up on a waiting list.
“If we could create one more route in Great Bend and one in Hoisington, we could put these new clients on and at least for now take care of the problem,” Hogg said.
She explained that just adding a route is not as easy as it sounds. There needs to be a volunteer ready to go to fill each of the five days of the week (Monday through Friday). The schedule could be five volunteers delivering once a week, 10 volunteers delivering every other week or 20 volunteers delivering one day a month.
Several businesses already fill a weekly spot by rotating employees each week, and this lessens the burden and an employee may only have to deliver once a month, she said. Substitutes are available if anyone has to take off on one of their scheduled delivery days.
According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of seniors will double by the year 2060. The current growth of the population ages 65 and older, driven by the large baby boom generation, is unprecedented in US. history, driving up the need for eldercare, senior services and other programs, such as MOW, Hogg said.
To volunteer or for more information, call 620-792-1614. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.