By Lisa Carolin
Five routes. Five drivers. Five days a week. That’s how many (mostly different) volunteers it takes to deliver Chelsea’s Meals on Wheels.
Add the four or five volunteers in the kitchen it takes to assemble the meals five days a week, and the result is that Meals on Wheels requires a lot of volunteers, and currently could use more.·
“In a given week, we serve 65 to 70 recipients,” said Bill O’Reilly, executive director of the Chelsea Senior Center, where the meals are prepared. “Annually, we deliver approximately 22,000 meals.”
Kitchen volunteers arrive in the kitchen at the Chelsea Street Education Center at 9 a.m. Monday through Friday to help prepare the meals that are made by cook Tracy Dalton. The meals are ready between 10:30 and 11 a.m., which is when drivers pick them up and go on their routes, which average an hour to an hour and a half.
As far as the qualifications to be a volunteer go, O’Reilly says, “For the kitchen volunteers, pretty much anyone can help.The work is mostly walking and standing in the kitchen area though there are certainly opportunities for sitting and taking a break. Quick background checks are done at no cost to the volunteer. The drivers need to have a good driving record and reliable transportation.Though they carry the delivery bags from their vehicle inside the recipient’s home, the bags are not heavy.The drivers also have a background check but again, at no cost to them.”
Twice a week, drivers deliver meals to people in Manchester, and on Fridays, weekend meals are also delivered.
If you are interested in volunteering either as a driver or in the kitchen for Chelsea’s Meals on Wheels program or in being a recipient, call the Chelsea Senior Center at 734-475-9242, or email [email protected], or drop by the Senior Center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.