For Brandy Hodge, who recruits and nurtures the volunteers who deliver Johnson County Meals on Wheels, the need for volunteers seems to be endless.
That’s because her cadre of dedicated, enthusiastic Meals on Wheels drivers is constantly changing. Some drivers pack up their cars and head for Florida or Texas before the arrival of cooler and colder temperatures. Others become less predictable because they are uneasy driving in the challenging weather of winter. Still others take a temporary break from their volunteering.
But the homebound elderly remain in place, needing that main meal five days a week—and in fall and winter they have even fewer resources for that food. That’s why Meals on Wheels needs both full-time and substitute drivers—now.
Johnson County Meals on Wheels is a service of the Johnson County Area Agency on Aging, providing nutritious meals delivered by volunteers to county residents who are 60 or older; homebound; unable to drive, shop for groceries, or cook their own meals; or have no one to assist with meal preparation.
Without the noon meal, many homebound seniors would lose their ability to remain at home and would become candidates for a nursing facility. The meal gives them the opportunity to remain independently in their own homes as long as possible.
The program, funded by the Older Americans Act, depends on volunteer drivers. In 2013, the program delivered 114,600 meals to eligible homebound residents.
Meals are delivered 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. Monday through Friday throughout Johnson County, but individual volunteers typically choose one day each week to deliver. Some deliver more often. Others make themselves available as substitutes.
Individuals, families, civic groups, faith-based community teams, and employee teams may deliver meals. Children are welcome to accompany a parent on the route.
If interested, Human Services asks all new volunteers to attend an orientation training prior to volunteering. Orientations occur twice a month with the next sessions scheduled at 10 a.m. Aug. 5 and at 1 p.m. Aug. 21. All sessions take place at the Sunset Drive Office Building, 11811 South Sunset Drive, Olathe.
To volunteer or for more information, contact Brandy Hodge, volunteer coordinator at 913-715-8866, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.