Meals on Wheels says there is a dire need for volunteers

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on January 21, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 21 at 2:45 PM

FORT WORTH - For three years, Becky Haskins has spent her Fridays volunteering for Meals On Wheels.

Her delivery list is longer than it used to be.

"Because there's not enough volunteers, our routes are becoming a lot longer and it takes a lot more time," Haskins said. 

Meals On Wheels of Tarrant County is in dire need of volunteers. Organization officials blame the economy.

"People that were taking care of a senior or a loved one are maybe having to return to the office," said Denise Harris, of Meals on Wheels. "Volunteers that were able to volunteer because of gas prices are maybe having to cut back on some of their extra driving."

Harris also said several of the current volunteers are retiring or cannot drive for health reasons.

Meals On Wheels of Tarrant County currently supplies daily meals to about 2,400 people. There are now more than 100 clients who might have to go on a waiting list. Meals On Wheels of Tarrant County has long had a policy against placing frail and home-bound people who need food on waiting lists.

Areas with the greatest need are Woodhaven, Handley, Poly and Forest Hill.

An entire route takes about an hour. Volunteers can claim vehicle mileage as a deduction on their income tax return.

Becky Haskins has become friends with the clients on her route. She hates to think people who can't get out of their own homes or who have no family to help could go hungry because there aren't enough volunteers to deliver food.

Meals on Wheels that serves Dallas also reports an urgent need of volunteers.

So pressing, in fact, that they are now paying more than half of their drivers to deliver much needed meals.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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