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Cass County Meals on Wheels starving for volunteers

CASS COUNTY, Mich. -- Meals on Wheels recipients in Cass County call the service a blessing, but the Council on Aging says it’s in desperate need of volunteer drivers to keep things up and running.

“We didn’t realize how important this job was until we met people individually and realized that we have changed their lives and made their life better,” said Stan Mason, who has delivered meals with his wife Phyllis for the last two years.

On any weekday morning, you’ll find a crew cooking, sealing, and storing dozens of meals inside the kitchen at the Council of Aging in Cassopolis.

Then, bag by bag, the meals are carried out to cars by volunteers and driven to their destinations.

Stan and Phyllis, who live in Edwardsburg, delivered meals to 12 homes on Thursday.

One of their usual clients is Georgianna A. Wixson of Dowagiac.

“It’s just a comfort to know that the meal is coming,” said Wixson, who has been receiving Meals on Wheels for the last six years.

But each meal only makes it thanks to the volunteers.

“It actually takes between 12 and 16 individuals a day to deliver the food to all of our participants,” said Bobbie Krynicki, the head of HR at the Cass County COA. “And in the last month, we’ve lost four drivers. So we have two days where we actually don’t even have enough drivers.”

Phyllis and Stan volunteer every other Thursday.

Though they made a dozen deliveries this Thursday, the demand only grows.

“One of the reasons it’s important is it not only ensures that the senior citizens have the nutritional supplements that they need to have for the day, but it also provides many of our senior citizens the only social contact they get at all.”

This point was proven during Phyllis and Stan’s drop-off at Georgianna’s.

“We love you, of course,” Stan told Georgianna.

“Thank you!” she said. “And I love you folks too.”

Krynicki said the Council loses a lot of volunteers in the winter because most of the drivers are also senior citizens, and many either go south for the winter or they’re simply too afraid to drive in the snow.

If you’re interested in volunteering, you can call the Council on Aging at 269-445-8110. Ask for Leslie Vargo or Bobbie Krynicki.

Or you can visit the Council’s website by clicking here.

Each shift takes about two hours.

And though it’s volunteer work and you need to have a valid license and vehicle, you do get reimbursed for gas.

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