GREAT FALLS — Meals On Wheels delivers hundreds of meals every week to homebound residents of Cascade County, making it possible for them to remain in their homes. The undertaking is made possible by volunteers and Meals On Wheels needs new volunteers to help cover vacations and illness.
The purpose of the program is to reduce hunger and food insecurity and promote health and well-being. Additionally, drivers provide an informal "welfare check" daily, which can bring peace of mind to the client and their family. The program is intended to provide meals for seniors who who are just returning home from a hospital, are no longer able to cook for themselves, or just can not get to a group meal location.
“Some of our our main volunteers are snowbirds, so they go down to warmer weather, which I understand during this time, so we have lost quite a few couples that volunteered for us to that kind of thing,” explained Teresa Loftus, Cascade County Senior Nutrition Manager.
She added, “When they volunteer, they meet so many new people that they would never get to meet. A Meals on Wheels delivery person might be the only person that these people see on a regular basis, so to fulfill a need like that is really, really quite precious.”
Those that do volunteer have quickly learned this to be true, like Annette Dea-Dart who signed up two years ago, after experiencing some health issues which gave her a new perspective on life.
“Meals on Wheels was something that I had always thought about doing. I got involved with Meals on Wheels, it'll be two years in January, and I’ve had the same route for two years, so I’ve gotten to really know these people,” says Dea-Dart. “But definitely for anybody who has been thinking about doing this, I’m telling you what, we get more out of it than they do. It's just really gratifying, very fulfilling. I highly recommend it.”
Kitchen volunteers start serving at 8:30 a.m. and the shift is two hours, during which food is prepared and packaged up into coolers. Volunteers need to be able to move around and stay on their feet for two hours.
Driving volunteers will begin at 10-10:30 a.m. and make deliveries along preplanned routes. These volunteers will take the coolers to the homes and deliver meals to the residents.
If you would like to help, contact Teresa Loftus at firstname.lastname@example.org, click here, or call 406-454-6993
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