A Meals on Wheels staff member prepares the food. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Community Service)

Meals on Wheels is operated by Southeast Senior Services, which serves Juneau’s aging population ages 60 and older. The program is short of volunteers these days and has lost two kitchen staff positions. To meet the needs in Juneau, existing volunteers took on additional shifts.

Meals on Wheels is part of Catholic community service. Meals can be delivered to anyone who is homebound or has mobility issues.

Matt Walker, who runs the program, said that while the remaining volunteers stepped up, he feared they would burn out.

“They just took time out of their own schedules and said ‘the need is greater than my free time,'” Walker said.

Running these meal delivery routes does more for Juneau seniors than just dropping off food. Volunteers also serve as a checkup for those with vulnerable health and a moment of social interaction each day for those who don’t always get it, especially during the pandemic.

Walker said the rising cost of gas could scare off some potential labor volunteers; it takes a lot of driving. But that may not be all, as the program has struggled to fill volunteer positions since the pandemic began.

“It’s one of those things that unless you use it or know someone who uses it, you don’t realize it’s happening behind the scenes,” Walker said.

He worries that this current lack of volunteers could jeopardize their two-year streak of never missing a delivery.

Those interested in volunteering can call 907-463-6179 or email Catholic Community Service.