Meals on Wheels Urgently Needs Additional Drivers for Summer Months to Replace Departing “Snowbird” Drivers
With its “snowbird” drivers heading back to their homes up north, Meals on Wheels of Polk County, Inc. urgently needs more full time Polk County residents to volunteer their time to deliver freshly-cooked meals to homebound people during the late spring and summer months.
“Every year around this time we lose drivers when seasonal residents return to their homes up north. However, we’ve always managed to serve our clients without interruption thanks to local drivers who fill in for the ‘snowbirds’ in the summer months. We hope this trend continues again this year,” said Susan Eldridge, executive director of Meals on Wheels.
Eldridge said all men and women who own a car, possess a valid driver’s license and have proof of insurance are eligible to drive routes for Meals on Wheels, adding that a typical volunteer driver delivers nutritious meals to between eight and 16 people per day.
“We are looking for drivers who can deliver meals once a week or fill in when drivers already assigned to regular routes take the day off. We always work around the schedules of our volunteers,” Eldridge said, noting that on most weekdays drivers pick up meals for their routes at Meals on Wheels headquarters at 620 Sixth Street in Winter Haven around 10:00 am and begin delivering them at 10:30 am. On most routes, drivers are finished by 12:00 noon, she added.
“Even though this is a strictly volunteer activity, all MOW drivers gain a great deal of satisfaction in knowing they are making a difference in the community by feeding people who are truly in need. This sense of satisfaction for a job well done is a tremendous reward,” Eldridge said.
Eldridge said drivers are needed for routes in all areas of Polk County served by Meals on Wheels, including Winter Haven, Auburndale, Lake Alfred, Dundee, Haines City, Lake Hamilton, Davenport and parts of Lakeland.
Potential volunteer drivers can apply online at <https://mealsonwheelspolk.com>, call Susan Eldridge at 863-299-1616 or visit Meals on Wheels headquarters any weekday between the hours of 9:00 am and 2:00 pm.
Meals on Wheels is a non-profit organization which prepares and delivers nutritious hot meals every weekday for homebound people residing in Winter Haven, Auburndale, Lake Alfred, Dundee, Haines City, Lake Hamilton, Davenport and parts of Lakeland.
On a typical weekday, MOW’s volunteer drivers deliver meals to nearly 500 homes of homebound people who are mostly over the age of 65. The volunteer drivers are frequently the only people MOW clients have the opportunity to see and talk to on a daily basis.
In addition to drivers, Meals on Wheels of Polk County welcomes volunteers to serve as kitchen workers, thrift store clerks, fundraisers and board members. Anyone wishing to become a MOW volunteer or client should call Susan Eldridge at 863-299-1616. Information also is obtainable on the MOW Web site at <https://mealsonwheelspolk.com>.
Because it receives no government funding, Meals on Wheels of Polk County relies solely on fundraising initiatives, thrift store sales and donations from individuals, corporate sponsors, churches and non-profit organizations to fulfill its mission of feeding and interacting with homebound Polk County citizens of all ages and backgrounds.