Help Wanted: Mobile Meals needs drivers - Tucson News Now

Help Wanted: Mobile Meals needs drivers

What a typical meal for a participant in Mobile Meals might get. (Source: Tucson News Now) What a typical meal for a participant in Mobile Meals might get. (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Snowbirds in southern Arizona might be flying back north to avoid the summer heat, but some of their home-bound neighbors are still in need of their daily deliveries.

Mobile Meals of Tucson needs volunteers.

The nonprofit has drivers deliver meals, a la Meals on Wheels, to elderly and disabled people who are home bound in Tucson, Green Valley and Sahuarita. But the local program isn't supported by federal dollars like Meals on Wheels.

Executive Director Tamara McKinney said this time of year is typically tough for the organization. She said volunteers take vacations and seasonal help leaves for most of the summer.

She said the handful of paid staff members have helped with routes and volunteers have covered double shifts sometimes, but some services have had to be canceled in the past.

Fran Valiente volunteers for a 2-hour delivery shift once a week. She said the flexibility of picking up more hours or different days is one of the aspects that attracted her to the organization.

Valiente said that she brings more than food to people who are more than just customers.

"They've become friends," she said. "I look forward to seeing them every week."

So do they.

Fred Kennard, 85, has looked forward to drivers and their deliveries at his east-side home for more than a decade. His sons signed him up for the service because of his Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and macular degeneration. 

"Everybody ... has been terrific," he said. "And reliable and efficient and friendly and kind."

Carl Saunders, 86, said he simply doesn't have the strength to stand and cook anymore. He said cereal has become a staple of his diet on weekends until meal service picks back up on Mondays.

Saunders said he can't believe that there's a shortage of drivers.

"If they'd ever see how much good it does to people like me that come to depend on it, they might change their mind," he said.

An average of 215 people are served each day by Mobile Meals of Tucson, according to McKinney.

Do you have what it takes to support this non-profit in need?

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