The winter months are making it difficult for The Salvation Army to deliver meals to seniors.
The Salvation Army Golden Diners program is in need of people to deliver meals, especially in the Cary area, said Sue Heinkel, the volunteer coordinator for the program in McHenry and Kane counties.
Heinkel said some regular drivers have left the area for the winter, leaving the program scrambling to find people to deliver meals. In the program, seniors receive a meal five days a week for free.
Heinkel said there also is a need for drivers in Woodstock and Huntley.
“Cary is my biggest need right now,” Heinkel said. “We lost quite a few.”
“For whatever reason, we suddenly have a lot [of openings] in the Cary area,” she added.
There are normally 30 drivers in Cary who help deliver meals, but the program recently lost six snowbirds.
“We tend to rely on retirees,” Heinkel said.
To help fill the shifts, volunteers are picking up extra routes, and Heinkel herself plans to take a route, she said.
Heinkel said the Golden Diners Program likes to have the same drivers as often as possible. Sometimes, however, a church will help provide drivers on certain days of the week.
In each meal, seniors receive a meat, a vegetable, a starch, a fruit, bread and milk. It’s a different meal every day.
“A lot of seniors, when pushed for finances and pushed to make decisions, nutrition will go out the door,” Heinkel said.
Heinkel said she plans to speak to area businesses and churches to see whether they could help provide volunteers.
A driver will deliver meals to six to 15 homes a shift, Heinkel said.
Having a driver come by to deliver a meal also serves as a well-being check for the senior.
“It might be the only person they see once a day, smile at and talk to,” Heinkel said.
People who receive meals have to be at least 60 years old, may have a health issue, may not be able to stand long enough to cook a meal, are home bound or have financial trouble.
“People at that age who don’t have help, I don’t know what would happen to them,” Heinkel said. “It’s very rewarding to help them.”
For information, call Sue Heinkel at The Salvation Army Golden Diners for McHenry and Kane counties at 630-232-6676, ext. 15.