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VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Meals on Wheels Seeks Drivers

The organization has been hit by higher gas prices leading to lower volunteer turnout.

Citing higher gas prices, Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland on Tuesday made an urgent call for volunteer drivers.

The nonprofit has 19 distribution centers in Baltimore city and county. Volunteer drivers may spend a lunch hour or a whole day, delivering two meals—one hot, one cold.

Know of another volunteer opportunity in the Parkville-Overlea area? Make sure you add it to Patch in the Volunteer Opportunities section.

Debbie Brown, a Meals on Wheels spokeswoman, said high gas prices and the summer vacation season mean some five-day-a-week volunteers are cutting back to four or less and some are too busy to participate.

"Our volunteers are the backbone of our agency," Brown said. "We have about 2,000 volunteers and on any given day about 300 are out on the highways and the roads delivering these meals to our clients."

Brown estimated that Meals on Wheels volunteers do $1.7 million worth of work for the organization each year.

The average age of Meals on Wheels' clients is 77; the average age of their volunteers is 75, with many of them being retirees themselves. But the latter number is one Brown wants to see lower. Some businesses, she said, have taken to "adopting a route." Employees will spend a lunch hour delivering meals for the organization.

"Not only are they delivering a healthy meal to these seniors, they're also bringing a smile, personal contact," Brown said, adding that for some clients, the Meals on Wheels volunteer may be their only face-to-face contact for the week.

The Towson distribution site is at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church at 1834-A East Joppa Rd.

Interested volunteers are asked to contact Liz Galea, 443-573-0940 or by email at galea@mowcm.org.

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