Hundreds of seniors depend on the Burleigh County Senior Adults Program for home-delivered meals. Sometimes that meal is their only nutrition for the day.
Recently, there’s been a shortage of drivers.
Suellen Swinnuy is one of the recipients who looks forward to receiving meals.
“They give you the vegetables and the fruit and everything you need to stay healthy,” said Swinnuy.
She says her favorite meals range from Chinese to Spanish but is open to them all.
“Sometimes I have to wait until dinner and sometimes I eat at lunch because once I smell it, I can’t hardly wait and others I reserve it for dinner, because it’s the best meal of the day,” said Swinnuy.
Lately, there has been a shortage in drivers volunteering. Those who continue to volunteer say it is a pleasurable experience and gives them an opportunity to connect with the people who receive the meals.
“They’re very nice people, and I enjoy making deliveries. Many of them like to strike up conversations and visit while we’re there. You get to know them a little bit,” said Jim Skaret, volunteer driver.
“All of our customers are willing, happy to receive their meal, and also they’re so happy to have someone visit with them. Sometimes we can visit for way too long,” said Fred Browning, volunteer driver.
Each day drivers deliver hundreds of meals and it takes 17 drivers to effectively deliver all of them. The problem is that some days there are only a dozen volunteer drivers.
“I have about 260 or more that we are delivering a day. Pre-COVID, we were about 150, 160,” said Renee Kipp, Executive Director Burleigh County Senior Adults Program.
Swinnuy says she’s very appreciative of the volunteers and doesn’t know what she would do without them.
“I don’t have a car and if I have to go to the grocery store, I have to find a ride there, and sometimes that’s very difficult. Having this is a real Godsend,” Swinnuy said.
“The meals are packaged when they’re in the vehicle. There’s some aroma sometimes, but not a lot of temptation there,” Skaret said.
To volunteer, you can contact the Burleigh County Senior Center to learn more.