As the Parkland enters the dog days of summer, residents are given the yearly opportunity of ensuring that the local senior nutrition centers are adequately staffed and maintained while many regular volunteers are out of town or busy with other projects.
There are many volunteer opportunities available for those interested in lending a helping hand, with the most commonly perceived one being helping out with the delivery of meals to the elderly.
“We are continuously looking for volunteers for our meal deliveries,” said Cher Robinson, director of the Bonne Terre Senior Nutrition Center. “I have three spots that are available. It takes, normally, about an hour and a half to deliver the meals. It works wonderfully if you have a partner, though it’s not required.”
Bismarck Senior Center Director Betty Jellinek said her center is facing a shortage of volunteers, primarily with meal delivery.
“Volunteers can either run a meal route, and we usually supply a vehicle if they don’t have one available, or they can come in and do extra cleaning for us,” Jellinek said.
In addition to the normal things that come to mind when considering the operation of a senior center, Jellinek said her center also is in dire need of volunteers to help with some behind-the-scenes work.
“We’re also really in dire need of a maintenance person,” she said. “Just to do odds and ends, like changing fluorescent lightbulbs, that sort of things.”
While the challenges faced by each senior center and the volunteer opportunities that come along with those challenges are unique to each center, summertime seems to place a greater strain than may be seen throughout the rest of the year.
“We have volunteers that normally like to take a vacation, like anyone else, during the summer,” Robinson said. “That does leave us even more shorthanded. If folks are able to help us out by filling in those spots during the summer, that would be wonderful. It would help us out a great deal.”
Contact your local senior center for information about its needs and volunteer opportunities. In Park Hills call 573-431-4974; in Bonne Terre call 573-358-3726; in Potosi call 573-438-3237; in Bismarck call 573-734-2429; and in Farmington call 573-756-1376.