Q: I retired last year and have been traveling and enjoying spending more time with my grandchildren. I have decided I would like to get involved with volunteer work. My professional background was focused on nutrition and food safety so I thought about the meals program for out town’s older adults. The town needed someone to deliver meals several days a week and that is more than I can commit to at this time. Is there any other program that could use my help?
A: We think the following information may be of interest to you and might be the right fit for volunteering.
The USDA defines food insecurity as “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food”. Millions of individuals in this country do not have the financial means to meet their monthly expenses, far too often their grocery budget is where they are forced to make cuts. The number of older adults in this category has increased and will continue to grow as our society ages.
In 2005 Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc.(ESMV) and the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) collaborated on a new venture to provide emergency food assistance to older adults living in the 23 cities and towns of the Merrimack Valley. Little did we know the first day of distribution when we handed out around 200 bags of food that 13 years later the numbers would increase significantly to 3000 participants.
The GBFB sends a truck filled with food 4 times a month and ESMV staff and volunteers fill bags with the food preparing them for distribution. The bags are picked up at the sites by eligible individuals or volunteers deliver the filled bags to other locations for pick-up. Two core sites in Haverhill and Tewksbury are in need of additional volunteers. This may be an optimal opportunity for you in consideration of your professional interests and a minimum time involved. The distribution in the two towns would be once a month for about 4 hours.
Anyone interested in volunteering or would like to know more about the eligibility guidelines for the Brown Bag Program can call 978-946-1303 or 978-946-1279.
Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our staff is available for a no-cost consultation, set up at your convenience, to help guide you through your caregiving experience. For more details or to schedule an appointment, please call 800-892-0890.
Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Please direct your correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org or Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., Age Information Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the CEO of Elder Services.