Meals on Wheels is run by Southeast Senior Services, which serves Juneau’s aging population, 60 years and older. The program is low on volunteers these days and is down two kitchen staff positions. To meet the need in Juneau, existing volunteers have picked up extra shifts.
Meals on Wheels is part of Catholic Community Service. The meals can be delivered to anyone who is homebound or has mobility issues.
Matt Walker, who runs the program, said that while the remaining volunteers are stepping up, he’s worried they may burn out.
“They’ve just taken time out of their own schedules and said ‘the need is greater than my free time,’” Walker said.
Running these meal delivery routes does more for Juneau’s seniors than simply dropping off food. The volunteers also serve as a wellness check on individuals with vulnerable health, and a moment of social interaction each day for those who don’t always get it, especially during the pandemic.
Walker said that the rising cost of gas may be scaring some potential volunteers from the job; it requires a lot of driving. But that might not be the whole story because the program has struggled to fill volunteer positions since the start of the pandemic.
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“It’s one of those things that unless you’re using it or you know someone that uses it, you don’t realize that it’s happening behind the scenes,” Walker said.
He’s worried that this current lack of volunteers will jeopardize their two-year streak of never missing a delivery.
People interested in volunteering can call 907-463-6179 or email Catholic Community Service.