COA’s Meals on Wheels program seeks delivery volunteers

CASSOPOLIS —The Cass County Council on Aging is seeking volunteers to make deliveries to seniors in need.

According to COA volunteer coordinator Danielle Dilts, the organization began bringing volunteers back within the past few months after having COA staff deliver meals throughout the bulk of the pandemic. For various reasons, the organization is short on volunteers and is seeking to fill those spots.

“We totally understand,” Dilts said. “People are trying to stay healthy and it’s good that they’re concerned for their own health. We are grateful to everyone who has returned. It’s a fantastic program. Within a few hours on the days you volunteer, you can make up to 20 peoples’ day.”

The Meals on Wheels program serves many older adults who would otherwise not have the means or capability to prepare a nourishing meal for themselves. The COA is able to subsidize the cost of these meals and ensure that homebound individuals have access to a nutritious meal five days per week at a price they can afford.

For many of its clients, the Meals on Wheels delivery person may be their only personal interaction during the week. The COVID-19 pandemic has made Meals on Wheels all the more important due to increased desire from clients to quarantine themselves away from the virus.

Volunteer drivers receive one free meal per shift and have their mileage reimbursed. New volunteers would begin riding with a veteran in order to familiarize themselves with routes and learn the ropes.

“I don’t just throw them out there,” said MOW Coordinator Cheryl Kovalak. “I usually try to take them out at least twice before you’re on your own.

Bob and Linda Campbell have been volunteering with the MOW program for the past two years.

“One day a week for a couple hours,” Linda Campbell said. “They are very accommodating and are willing to work around your schedule. I enjoy seeing the people, and I feel they really appreciate it.”

Cheryl Kovalak has spent the past 17 years overseeing the MOW program she created when she worked at the Cass County Jail. She has witnessed firsthand the impact the program has on the elderly community in Cass County.

“I like this program because we have a mission of feeding seniors in our county, which is very important,” Kovalak said. “Seeing people get the food they need and keeping up with their health and what they’re doing are things I like to do anyway, so I love this program.”

Readers interested in volunteering with the MOW program can fill out an application in-person at the COA’s headquarters, 60525 Decatur Road, Cassopolis or call the main office at (269) 445-8110.

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