While people go about their workday every day in Morton, volunteers help make sure people in need in Morton get fresh meals each day.
Unfortunately, meals are starting to become harder to deliver as volunteer numbers decline.
Meals on Wheels, which was started in 1975 by WeCare in Morton, has started seeing dwindling volunteer numbers as fewer people find time to deliver meals.
“It’s way down right now, that’s the problem,” Marilyn Hines of WeCare said. “Some of them have had to stop because they’re taking care of a spouse that’s not well. Some of them, a husband and wife go together, and they’re traveling. It’s just really hard to find people that want to put in that little time.”
“The people that we have doing it have either done it for a long time or are friends of them.”
The service helps any resident needing meals in Morton have a hot meal for lunch, along with a sack lunch for dinner that night if needed.
Georgia Glynn, a WeCare board member, said that unlike many government programs, there aren’t certain requirements that have to be filled to have the meals.
“There have been pregnant women or women that just had babies that have no families around here that have no family that have used the program,” she said.
Meals are delivered Monday through Friday on two different routes in Morton, along with houses in rural Tazewell.
“They usually come by here at 10:30 a.m,” Hines said. “The two volunteers pick up this list and pick up their bags that the meals go in (from Rushmore) and a name tag. They’re usually done by a little after noon. If they have a problem, if somebody is not home, they’ll call. I’ll try calling, and if no one answers I’ll call the emergency contact in case something has happened.
“The relatives are always so appreciative that we’re checking on them.”
The volunteers choose the routes they want to deliver. One route goes by Creekwood Apartments, where many meals go, while the other goes to Veterans and Oaklawn Estates.
“Some drivers want only one route and that’s all they’ll do. Some are willing to do either one,” Hines said.
While volunteers may be down, the people needing meals have increased.
“Back in January, we delivered 804 meals,” Glynn said. “Then, in September, we delivered over 1,000 meals.”
Hines said at the busiest points about 40 people each day were getting meals in town.
While delivering, Glynn noted that some residents have specific instructions, like leaving meals in certain locations.
“The people are just really sweet and really appreciative that we’re there for them with this service,” she said.
In addition, meals are sometimes delivered on holidays as well, depending if the people need it.
To volunteer, the biggest requirement is that drivers have valid insurance in case a mailbox or other utility gets damaged.
“(We ask) that they have the time and energy to do it,” Hines said “They get attached to these people, and the people really get used to seeing them. They’re really sweet.”
Applications are available at the WeCare office at 111 Detroit Parkway. If someone is not sure about delivering meals by themselves at first,
Hines said they can go with another volunteer as long as they need to feel comfortable.
“It’s for people in need, and it’s really a fantastic thing,” Glynn said.