SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Meals On Wheels is a service that provides two meals a day to homebound seniors and people who are unable to shop and cook. This fall, the staff has seen less volunteers than normal. Tina Casella, the volunteer coordinator, said that their volunteers work in the kitchen to prepare the food and drive to deliver the meals during the lunch hour.
“I don’t know if we’re in the middle of the year where the summer volunteers have left for the winter and the winter volunteers have not come back from the summer. I don’t know it just seems to be interesting that all of the sudden we’re faced with a shortage of volunteers,” said Casella.
The volunteers come from a variety of places. Syracuse University students, Onondaga Community College students, nursing students who need community service hours, and a lot of retirees gather at 300 Burt Street in Syracuse to help those in need.
“Our volunteers really feel rewarded by volunteering here. I’ll have people come in to pick up their paperwork and meals and maybe not in the greatest mood and they’ll come back and say oh boy I’m so glad I came here today to do this,” said Casella.
The Meals on Wheels in Syracuse is one of 10 in the entire country that has received a grant for an app that gives information on the driver’s routes and status in real time. If there is an issue, the staff can help immediately.
The Head Cook, Rubin Cary, really enjoys getting to know the people he works with. He even volunteers to drive and deliver meals when he has time.
“It feels really good, I actually have a Meals on Wheels sticker on my car so a lot of people say oh you work for Meals on Wheels, yes I do, it makes me feel real good people appreciate that,” said the head cook, Rubin Carey.
The staff jokes around about one day having drones that deliver the meals to the clients. However, Casella knows that it’s not the same.
“That’ll never replace the personal touch of a friendly face saying hello and how are you feeling today,” said Casella.