Durham, N.C. — Meals on Wheels in Durham needs at least 20 volunteers to cover its routes and deliver food to homebound local residents.
Across the country, about 80 percent of Meals on Wheels groups have lost volunteers because of high gas prices. Organizers in Durham say the number of volunteers is down, but gas price aren't the reason.
Meals on Wheels branch Executive Director Gale Adland blames a volunteer shortage on the time of year. She said there is a lag between volunteers who pick up routes in the summer and those who take summers off.
Plus, Meals on Wheels is trying to serve more people because of a recent expansion. About 180 people are on waiting lists, she said.
“We are down some drivers, but we are also going to need to be adding a few routes to be able to feed all the people that we are getting,” Adland said.
Volunteer Nancy Ruth Best and her partner have picked up extra routes to make sure meals get delivered.
“Our folks depend on us,” Best said.
Meals on Wheels client McKinley Smitherman said he looks forward to Best’s visits.
“That’s my main meal,” he said. “It means everything.
Volunteers must have a valid driver's license and show proof of insurance.