Metro Meals on Wheels needs 500 new volunteers

For more than four decades, Carol Ward has either coordinated or delivered Meals on Wheels in Dakota County.

But, since she tripped and fell in her garden last month, she’s been on the other side of the home meal delivery service.

"I'd much rather be on the giving end than the receiving end, but it’s wonderful when I get tired of having eggs twice a day," she said.

Metro Meals on Wheels says it is looking for 500 new volunteers to make deliveries to its clients this fall and winter. The nonprofit says it is delivering 50 percent more meals since the pandemic started, and it needs the extra drivers to keep up with demand.

"Most of our programs are serving a record number of meals right now. We just need folks to step up and use their lunch hour to deliver to a few neighbors in need," said Grant Boelter, communications manager with Metro Meals on Wheels.

Metro Meals on Wheels believes more people have signed up to have someone bring them their food because they are worried about being exposed to the virus if they go out in public.

And after a spike in volunteers last year, the amount of volunteer support has since dropped back to normal levels.

"We never want to have to turn anyone away. We haven't ever had to turn anyone away, and we hope that continues," he said. "It's both that there is underlying food insecurity in the community, but it’s also the fact that people don't feel safe going out to the grocery store and getting the food that they need."

Carol Ward says she’ll probably need her meals delivered for a couple more months, and she has faith a few more people in her community will step up to the plate.

"It keeps me from going hungry, and if you work it out right you don't even have to wash the dishes."