Feeding the Hungry

Friday, July 24, 2015

Elderbridge in need of drivers to delivers meals to homebound

Many homebound, elderly residents of Spencer depended on a hot, healthy meal delivered to their home each weekday in an effort conducted by Elderbridge Agency on Aging. But that service is now in jeopardy due to the lack of a volunteer network of delivery drivers.

"It seems like volunteer drivers have just kind of fallen off slowly," Sandi Iwen, who coordinates the effort for Elderbridge's local office in Spencer, said.

Iwen explained that the Spencer Area Activity Center had agreed to take on home delivery for the agency, but like Elderbridge, was having trouble getting enough committed drivers to take on the weekday responsibility. At the end of the month, the SAAC-Elderbridge partnership will end.

"It was taking too much of their director's time to try and find drivers," Iwen explained, noting that she's back to square one in terms of coordinating local delivery efforts. "I'm reaching out to everyone I can think of."

Elderbridge Agency on Aging is seeking businesses, service clubs, churches or any other organization in the Spencer area to come forward with new volunteer recruits to help deliver meals.

There are 30 home bound people in Spencer who depend on this assistance. Three volunteers are required daily, Monday through Friday, to deliver approximately 10 meals each day using their own vehicle and gas within the city of Spencer. Routes are less than 4 miles long and take 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

The meals are prepared in Emmetsburg -- by a vendor selected through a bidding process -- and brought to Spencer where they are dished out and prepared for delivery. The delivery and setup will continue at SAAC until the end of the month.

And then?

"We've got a couple of leads," Iwen said. "We should be able to nail that down in the next week. Or we will be doing it out of our office."

She continued, "It's too important a project to let go by the wayside. The homebound people don't have any other way to get a good meal. They can't eat pizza and subs everyday."

Iwen said the agency plans to create a data base with a year-long window setting up delivery schedules for those who commit to certain days or times so everyone knows in advance when they are in charge of transporting the meals to the diners.

"We're trying to make the community aware that this is getting to be a problem in certain locations. People don't volunteer like they used too," she said, adding, "It's a good service. My heart goes out to them. Two years ago, I broke both my arms so I know where they're coming from."

Any organization or individual interested in delivering noon meals to Spencer residents can call or email Sandi Iwen at Elderbridge Agency on Aging in Spencer at siwen@elderbridge.org or 262-1775 ext. 7014.

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