DOWNEY – The Downey Meals on Wheels program is currently looking for volunteers to help deliver food to some of Downey’s shut-in residents. The volunteer non-profit organization hand-delivers food to members of the community who are aged, chronically or temporarily ill, disabled, or who may be in a time of need. Downey Meals on Wheels has been serving members of the community since 1974, however the current chapter has been operating since 2010.
The organization currently runs five routes throughout Downey, serving more than 60 homebound Downey residents Monday through Friday. Two volunteers, a driver and a copilot for navigation are assigned to each route, said Downey Meals on Wheels President Robin Smith. There are currently around 45 volunteers, however, and the organization is still looking for more help.
“Right now our major need is that we need more volunteers,” said Smith. “Our volunteers come and go; they get jobs.” Smith also noted that many of the current volunteer base are older in age, and that some younger individuals would also make a difference.
Most of the current volunteers are citizens of Downey, said the organization’s office manager, Carrie Ridley.
“A lot of them have been doing it for a really long time,” said Ridley. “They really enjoy it.”
Anyone who is interested in helping should contact Ridley. Potential volunteers will be interviewed and screened before being scheduled on a route according to their availability.
“It’s a short period of time and easy to do,” said Ridley.
Another need comes in the form of scholarships for individuals who cannot pay for their own meal delivery. The delivered meals are purchased from Whittier Presbyterian Hospital. Downey residents could help by sponsoring a Meals on Wheels client who can not afford the service on their own.
Both Smith and Ridley emphasized the impact that the work has on both the volunteers and their clients. Smith said that Downey Meals on Wheels is not only about the food, but the human contact and making sure that each client is ok as well.
She said that many of the elderly and shut-in in Downey do not have anyone close by.
“The volunteers actually get more out of volunteering than the clients do because they become so attached to these people,” said Smith. “It’s almost like we’re all family.”
“They love seeing us every day and I just love seeing the smile on their face,” said Ridley, “for the community I whole-heartedly endorse this program.”
For more information about Downey Meals on Wheels and Volunteering, contact Carrie Ridley at (562) 622-5636, or visit downeymealsonwheels.org.
Published: Feb. 19, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 45