Meals drivers needed

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Cassville Senior Center is seeking volunteers who are available to deliver meals to local seniors. Meals on Wheels drivers are needed for a variety of routes.

"Our home bound meals enable seniors to stay in their homes instead of either being forced to move away to seek more assistance or go into a nursing care facility," said Pam Klepper, Cassville Senior Center assistant administrator. "It give peace of mind to their families and friends knowing that they are provided with nutritious meals and have a daily social contact."

Meals on Wheels drivers receive the satisfaction of helping others who often have no one else to turn to, said Klepper.

"By helping our community seniors we are actually helping ourselves by ensuring that this program will be in our community in the future for those of us who may need it later in our lives," said Klepper.

Over the last few years, like many other state agencies, the Southwest Missouri Office on Aging has been impacted by severe budget cuts. With the inability to hire full-time meals drivers, programs offered by area senior centers are dependent on volunteers.

"(Without volunteers), we would definitely have seniors in our community who would go hungry in order to purchase medications or have no choice but to go into a nursing facility to obtain the meals they need," said Klepper.

The Cassville Senior Center's meals program is available to any person 60 years of age or older and the spouse of individuals who are 60 and older regardless of income level. The program is also open to individuals with disabilities who are over the age of 18 and live in senior housing. Individuals must live in Barry County.

"Meals are provided on a contribution basis," said Klepper. "No one is ever denied service because of the inability to contribute."

Meals drivers can choose to volunteer one or several days a month. Drivers are reimbursed for mileage at a rate of 45 cents per mile.

"We also appreciate volunteer help at the senior center," said Klepper. "These volunteers are not reimbursed except with the many thank yous of our congregate. We always need volunteers to answer the phone, help plan activities and assist in our kitchen here in our center."

The Cassville Senior Center prepares and serves over 50,000 meals each year. The center also offers a variety of activities and informational events for area seniors.

For more information or to volunteer at the local senior center, call 847-4510.

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