FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 5, 2013) – Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc. will soon see a 30 percent drop in volunteer drivers for its Meals on Wheels program as seasonal residents head back north.
“Unfortunately we see this every year at this time,” said Tracey Galloway, CEO of CCMI. “We are so thankful for the wonderful seasonal residents who volunteer their time with us each winter, but we are at a critical point in needing volunteers to help us pack and deliver meals through the summer months so our seniors don’t go hungry.”
CCMI serves more than 400 homebound seniors and more than 8,000 meals each month through its Meals on Wheels program. The agency relies solely on volunteer drivers to cover its current 30 routes across Lehigh Acres, Cape Coral, Estero, Fort Myers and North Fort Myers that rely solely on volunteer drivers.
“A two-hour commitment once per week is all it takes to make a huge difference in the lives of our homebound seniors,” Galloway said.
According to Galloway, CCMI currently has a waiting list of homebound seniors that can’t be served until Meals on Wheels adds additional drivers.
“It is very upsetting to know we have hungry elders we cannot feed,” she said. “My hope is we can recruit more drivers very soon to alleviate this issue.”
With seven convenient pick-up locations across Lee County, an average Meals On Wheels route has 15 customers and takes approximately two hours to complete. Children are welcome to volunteer as well with adult supervision.
If volunteers are part of a company, church or organization, they and their co-workers can adopt a route and volunteer together.
Since 2010, the entire staff of Myers, Brettholtz & Company, PA has volunteered as Meals on Wheels drivers for the summer after hearing about CCMI’s annual shortage.
“When we shared the need with our employees, 24 of them signed up to help deliver,” Steve Brettholtz, president and shareholder of the Fort Myers based firm. “It is the perfect scenario for us because the summer months are not as demanding as the season can be.”
CCMI has continued to develop new and innovative ways to fight hunger and homelessness across Southwest Florida. They recently launched the Groceries on Wheels program to deliver food to approximately 30 senior clients currently in the Meals on Wheels program who cannot get to the grocery store or shop for themselves.
“Twenty dollars per month sponsors one senior for groceries for the month, and $250 sponsors a senior for a year.” said Laura Meyer, director of Food Outreach for CCMI.
The Meals on Wheels Home Delivered Meal Program delivers hot, nutritious and well-balanced meals weekday mornings, including extras for the weekend, to Lee County residents who are elderly, ill or disabled and are unable to shop or prepare their own food. Drivers provide daily nutrition and contact for homebound residents regardless of their ability to pay.
CCMI is an innovative nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization made up of social service entrepreneurs fighting to end homelessness and hunger in our community. The agency provides more than 15,000 meals each month through its Everyday Cafes and Marketplaces and Meals on Wheels programs. CCMI also educates 40 children in its Community Montessori, offers homeless and comprehensive case coaching services through its United Way Resource Houses, oversees an emergency mobile food pantry and supplies weekend backpacks full of food to more than 2,500 children each school year.
CCMI serves Fort Myers and the greater Lee County area, including Bonita Springs, Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres. CCMI works in partnership with United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades, Harry Chapin Food Bank and various community foundations as well as collaborating with fellow community and service groups including The School District of Lee County and numerous churches, businesses and community support organizations.
Meals on Wheels drivers must have current license and insurance.
For more information on volunteering, contact Volunteers@CCMILeeCounty.com, or call 239- 332-0441.