NewsCovering Kern County


Bakersfield Meals on Wheels lacks volunteers and funding

Meals on Wheels serves 50 less meals
Posted at 3:09 PM, Mar 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 18:38:46-04

A service many seniors rely on is seeking volunteer support as soon as possible.

The Rasmussen Senior Center provides a variety of services to the community, but it's also home to the Meals on Wheels program in Bakersfield which is in need of help.

Many meal recipients told 23ABC Thursday that without Meals on Wheels volunteers they would have almost nowhere to turn for food.

Like many who are also over 60-years-old Sue Norwood relies on the senior nutrition program Meals on Wheels because she has dealt with her fair share of health issues. "I had heart problems and I thought well I'll just come over here," Norwood said.

Those challenges make it harder for Norwood and other homebound seniors to access a hot meal on their own every day. "Most of the time I didn't eat it was too much to walk over there and get it and come back and fix it and all of that so I didn't really do much about food or drinking," Norwood said.

That problem became part of the past for Norwood. Five volunteers in Bakersfield conduct a some of 30 deliveries a day to homebound seniors in need. Each meal delivered cost the non-profit organization $9, one route made up of 30 homebound seniors costs a total of $10,000. 

The current shortage of volunteers and funding is also limiting the resources available for seniors in the community. "Right now we are sitting at over one hundred waiting on the waitlist." Meals on Wheels Coordinator Erin Sedam said.

The program serves 200 meals a day to seniors right now, as compared to the 250 it served in the past and for some, the delivery service is the only interaction they have with people.

Norwood just hopes others in the community will lend a hand, "There's a lot who depend on it, we need drivers really bad there's not enough drivers who volunteer."

Seniors who are over 60 years old and eat with Meals on Wheels are currently making $2 donations, but the organization is still too short financially to add more meal routes. Currently they are even having to pay drivers because people are just not volunteering.

If you would like to help make a difference you can contact the Bakersfield Meals on Wheels organization at (661)392-2016 and ask for a Meals on Wheels representative.