NEW YEAR, NO EXCUSES! WHY 2019 IS YOUR YEAR TO VOLUNTEER WITH MEALS ON WHEELS.

Massillon, OH (January 9, 2019): It’s a new year, and this year you have no excuse not to volunteer! Meals on Wheels of Northeast OH, a program of VANTAGE Aging (and the former Meals on Wheels of Stark & Wayne Counties) are counting down the top 10 reasons people think they cannot volunteer with Meals on Wheels, and sharing why there really are no excuses!

Excuse #10: The application process is too hard.
Meals on Wheels’ volunteer application is just one, simple page that asks for standard contact information. We ask for basics, like you birthday and emergency contact, but we don’t ask anything too in depth. You do receive a packet of info with your application, including a mileage reimbursement form and delivery guidelines; however, those forms are for your benefit and you are not required to turn them in. Applying is as easy as filling in your name and signing on the bottom line!

Excuse #9: I don’t like to drive.
You don’t have to drive to help Meals on Wheels! If you would like to help make deliveries without driving, you can partner with a driver. You can recruit your own driver, or team up with a current volunteer.  You can be the “runner” who helps with navigation and meal hand-offs. You’ll play a vital role in deliveries without getting behind the wheel!

Excuse #8: I will be hungry.
Volunteers can sign up to take meals home with them after deliveries. We’ll have an extra meal ready and waiting for you, so after you finishing helping deliver, you can take home a delicious and nutritious meal for yourself!

Excuse #7: I babysit my grandkids.
Bring them with you! Our clients absolutely love when your grandkids visit. More than that, it’s a great way to introduce children to service at a young age. It’s never too early learn to about nonprofits and community engagement.

Excuse #6: It’s cold.
Ohio gets chilly in the winter, but doesn’t that make a warm meal even better? Our volunteers bundle up and help us feed the clients who depend on deliveries to stay healthy and at home with warm food in their bellies during these winter months. We will ask you to brave the cold – as long as it’s not too cold! If it is safe to be out, then we make deliveries. However, in the event of extreme winter conditions, such as severe temperatures or snow fall, we will cancel deliveries. We prepare clients with shelf stable meals for these situations, so you do not have to deliver; client and volunteer safety are our top priorities. So you may need to bring a hat and gloves, but know that we’ll never ask you to deliver in extreme conditions.

Excuse #5: I live too far away.
Meals on Wheels has 12 sites located throughout Stark and Wayne Counties, so chances are you’re located close to one of them! Our sites are located in: Alliance, Canal Fulton, Canton (2), Dalton, Jackson, Louisville, Massillon, North Industry, Rittman, Uniontown, and Wooster – and some cities even have multiple sites. We will work with you to find the closest and most convenient location to your home or office, that way you’ll never be too far from Meals on Wheels to help deliver!

Excuse #4: I’m not good with directions.
That’s okay, because we are! Meals on Wheels provides drivers with tablets that have built-in GPS systems, programmed to take you from house to house along your route. The GPS automatically tells you exactly where you are going, and even shows you a street view of the home you are looking for – so you never have to worry about getting lost. And once you run the route once or twice, you won’t even need directions!

Excuse #3: It doesn’t sound rewarding.
We can go on and on about how much our volunteers mean to our clients… but we think it’s better for you to hear it from them! One client said, “I thank all of you who take the time to help people like me. All of you are very wonderful and kind. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” If you want to learn for yourself the impact you can make, then volunteer with us. The clients you help will feel the same way about you!

Excuse #2: I have to work.
Let’s do lunch? You and your co-workers can still help Meals on Wheels by volunteering to deliver during your lunch breaks. We offer a special Adopt a Route program for businesses who want to volunteer based on an employee rotation system. For example, if a business agrees to cover 1 route a week, and 8 employees volunteer to assist, then those employees can form pairs and each pair only needs to deliver 1 time per month. Adopting a route is a great way to promote civic responsibility and engage in local communities without taking too much time away from work – making it a beneficial opportunity for both Meals on Wheels and your business!

Excuse #1: Why me?
WHY NOT YOU? Volunteering to deliver for Meals on Wheels is fun, easy, and vital way to support your community. Meals on Wheels serves more than 1,500 meals per day to individuals in need. The meals are divided and delivered across 60 delivery routes, and more than 290 total routes are run each week. Out of those 60 routes, we face permanently open routes every day at 10 of our satellite sites. A permanently open route forms when there are no regularly scheduled volunteers available to deliver. The agency can face up to 66 permanently open routes in just one week – that’s approximately 25% of Meals on Wheels’ total routes. This is an ongoing challenge for an agency that serves an ever-growing number of individuals, and it must find volunteers in order to sustain its services. With your help, we can work together to continue to providing nutritional support that keeps your neighbors happy, healthy, and independent.

The New Year is a perfect time to set goals, try something new, and challenge yourself to be the best version that you can be. The best version of Meals on Wheels of Northeast OH exists only with your help. This year, let there be no excuses to keep you from getting involved, and make 2019 your year to volunteer!

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Meals on Wheels’ Volunteer Coordinator, Anngi Klick, at 330-832-7220 ext. 113 or aklick@vantageaging.org. Volunteers must be licensed drivers and have auto insurance coverage. Deliveries are made between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday through Friday and take approximately 60 to 90 minutes to complete. The agency provides volunteers with training, and mileage reimbursement is available upon request. Meals on Wheels welcomes those who would like to become regular drivers or occasional substitute drivers.

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About VANTAGE Aging: VANTAGE Aging provides high-quality programs to empower the economic, social, physical, and mental well-being of adults as they age. Non-medical in-home care is provided by Home Wellness Solutions. Behavioral Health Solutions offers mental health counseling and treatment for alcohol and other drug use issues to adults age 45 and older. Job training for low-income adults age 55 and older is offered through the Senior Community Service Employment Program. Evidenced-based volunteering to meet local and national needs is provided by RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) volunteers. Meals on Wheels of Northeast Ohio provides home-delivered and congregate meals to provide nutritional support to the homebound and disabled. Overall, VANTAGE’s programs come together to offer a path for positive aging. Founded in 1975 as a senior citizen program, VANTAGE has since become an independent, nationally respected organization with offices throughout the state. For more information, call 330.253.4597 or visit www.vantageaging.org.