Volunteers needed, Salt Lake County Meals on Wheels is in a ‘critical place’

Local News

SANDY CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Salt Lake County’s Meals on Wheels program is in a critical place. This, as triple digits temperatures continue to show us how important it is to check on our seniors. There is a need for volunteers to deliver timely meals to the county’s elderly.

Paul Kikuchi will tell you volunteering is very rewarding, and “volunteering isn’t hard at all.”

Kikuchi has 20-years invested in volunteering for Salt Lake County. We caught up with him while he was delivering drinks, fruit, hot meals, and desserts for Meals on Wheels in Sandy City.

Paul Kikuchi preparing a Meals on Wheels delivery

During his route, he asked one client, “Is Boyd doing ok?” She responded, “He is.”

During these triple-digit days, volunteers like Kikuchi say it’s important to do wellness checks. He’s assisted two seniors with health conditions in this week’s heatwave.

“The elderly are so appreciative of everything you do,” he adds.

“One time I was delivering a meal and I came across a man who had collapsed at home and we were able to call 911,” says Afton January who works in the Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services Department, which heads up the program.

She adds, “Right now, the Meals on Wheels program for Salt Lake County is in a critical place.”

January says it’s because volunteer turnout is low compared to the traditional 47% they see each year.

“However, since the summer started and that heatwave has kind of hit us, we’ve seen a real dip off,” she says.

The low turnout is causing existing volunteers to work double-time.

Paul Kikuchi delivering for Meals on Wheels

“The person who comes to deliver that meal is really a lifeline to the outside world,” says January.

Hal Bresock is a client of Meals on Wheels. He’s in his 90’s and tells us, “If it wasn’t for Meals on Wheels, I wouldn’t be living the lifestyle I’m living now.”

If you would like to volunteer for Salt Lake County’s Meals on Wheels program please visit this website: https://slco.org/aging-adult-services/meals-on-wheels/

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