ASHEBORO — Randolph County Senior Adults Association is looking for a few good volunteers to deliver Meals on Wheels.
Mark Hensley, executive director of the Senior Adults Association, said the Meals on Wheels program was closed for 15 months during the COVID-19 pandemic, from March 2020 to July 1, 2021. During that time, 10 frozen meals were delivered to clients once every two weeks, mostly by staff members.
Volunteers returned to deliver in July 2021 until the highly-contagious Omicron variant hit later that year. A number of volunteers at that time were no longer comfortable delivering to shut-ins, concerned that they may either spread the virus or get the virus.
Again, Meals on Wheels delivered frozen meals every two weeks.
But, according to Hensley, the four senior centers again have begun normal operations delivering hot meals five days a week. Archdale started Nov. 7, Randleman on Nov. 14 and Liberty on Nov. 21. Asheboro will resume normal operations on Dec. 5.
“But we’re needing more volunteers to help with Meals on Wheels,” Hensley said. “No client has missed a meal, just frozen instead of hot meals” during those periods of pandemic shutdowns.
“We’ve combined routes and some volunteers are doing multiple days a month,” he said. “We’d love to lighten their load. We ask for just one hour a month. It takes about an hour to run a route. But some volunteers are doing multiple days. That’s why we need more people.”
Meals on Wheels deliveries normally begin about 11 a.m. with each volunteer taking meals to 8-12 clients. They pick up the meals at the senior center in warming bags, run their route and then return the bags.
With upcoming holidays or when inclement weather is in the forecast, volunteers deliver shelf-stable meals that don’t require being heated. Ordinarily, Meals on Wheels are delivered Monday through Friday.
Hensley said that during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021, and ending June 30, 2022, the Meals on Wheels program delivered 94,000 meals. But, he said, the senior population in Randolph County continues to grow.
“We want to have enough volunteers to fill the routes when someone is unable to serve,” such as during vacations or sickness.
To qualify to receive Meals on Wheels, a person must be at least 60 years old and be housebound. Hensley said the "social connection with other people is just as important as the food."
Golden Corral of Asheboro prepares all the meals.