Summer volunteer shortage creates “desperate” need for Pinellas Meals on Wheels

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — Meals on Wheels of Pinellas County is in desperate need of volunteers as numbers have dropped to drastically low levels this summer.

Wonetha Hall with the Neighborly Care Network says summer often brings a dip in volunteer numbers, as many volunteers are retired snowbirds who live elsewhere during the summer months. However, Hall says the problem is inexplicably worse this year.

“We are in need of volunteers like no other this summer,” Hall said. “We’re having an abnormal amount of people leaving.:”

Neighborly Care Network serves 3,000 seniors a day in Pinellas County, including serving 2,000 meals through the Meals on Wheels program.

Hall says they would need at least 80 more volunteers to get back to a comfortable operating level.

“We want to make sure [the clients] have that same love and care in the summer as they do in the fall,” she said.

Despite the shortage, everyone is still getting fed. But volunteers are working longer hours and taking on more routes to get the job done. Office staff like Hall are also taking on delivery shifts.

The volunteer shortage is creating a call to action. Hall says by taking just two hours out of your day, you could be making a homebound senior’s entire day.

“It’s not just about a meal,” Hall explained. “It’s also about being able to spend that time to make sure they have friendship and we want to make sure we have that type of time as well.”

Meals on Wheels is flexible with volunteer hours. Most volunteers work just one two-hour route a week.

To sign up or for more information, visit Neighborly.org or call 727-573-9444.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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