Meals on Wheels of Erath County (MOWEC) needs help delivering meals in Dublin. Volunteers are needed to fill immediate openings for regular route drivers.

Volunteer drivers take hot meals along specific routes through out the county and most volunteers commit to delivering meals one day a week. Drivers pick up meals between 10:15 and 10:30 a.m. on weekdays and spend about an hour delivering the meals.

Executive Director Whitney Lee said the Dublin routes are growing by leaps and bounds and she would like to add a route to keep up with demand.

"Right now we have three routes in the Dublin area," Lee said. "Two of those routes run each day, Monday through Friday. One route only runs on Mondays and delivers to clients that live in the more rural areas."

Lee said approximately 50 clients are served each day in Dublin between the two daily routes.

"That puts more than 20 clients on each route, which is a lot," Lee said. "We work really hard to make this as easy as we can on our drivers. We know that many of them are doing this on their lunch breaks or their free time. But we can't add a third daily route unless we have enough committed volunteers."

At least five volunteers are needed for each route, with each one committed to deliver on a specific day of the week.

Volunteers are the backbone of Meals On Wheels programs across the country. Not only do they deliver meals to homebound seniors in their local communities, Meals On Wheels volunteers provide the seniors they serve with companionship and a warm, friendly smile when they arrive at the door.

Sherilyn Svien has served as the MOWEC treasurer since its inception in March 1995 and said the value of face-to-face interaction is what drives her passion for the organization.

"Individuals in the program often see only the volunteer meal provider each day and nobody else. It is a lonely existence when a person is homebound," Svien said. "Emergency medical assistance has periodically been needed and given when a knock on the door or ringing the doorbell raises no response. Lives have been saved by our volunteers over the years."

But Svien has also experienced a more personal benefit through the program when her parents moved from their home to Erath. When they arrived, they were assessed by MOWEC and qualified for services based on existing health conditions, age and inability to drive.

"I am not able to go take lunch to them daily because I have a full-time job," Svien said. "It has been a wonderful help to me to be sure my own parents have a hot meal each weekday."

Svien said her parents, and even their dog, enjoy their daily chats with all the volunteers.

"My dad is an Aggie. One of our delivery volunteers, also an Aggie, makes a point to make my parents home her last stop so she can visit about TAMU," Svien said. "At times a boy scout troop or other school age group of young people are the volunteers. The young voices especially cheer my parents."

Drivers generally commit to coming in one day a week for a regular route, but signing up as a substitute driver is a great way to get involved with minimal commitment.

Anyone interested can call MOWEC in Dublin at 445-2898 or Stephenville at 965-3510.