Organization needs more North Shore food delivery volunteers

Meals On Wheels Volunteers
Meals On Wheels Volunteers(Northern News Now)
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 2:32 PM CDT
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TWO HARBORS, MN -- The need for more volunteers to deliver food to Northlanders is expected to grow as winter nears.

Community Partners in Two Harbors works with around 100 volunteers annually who help deliver food and more to people in need.

The Meals On Wheels program is one of the biggest needs. Gerald Carlson decided to join the program years ago to help his fellow neighbors.

“I am one of the drivers for meals on wheels,” Carlson said.

Carlson has delivered meals on two different routes for over a decade.

“Maybe 15 years,” he said.

Not too long ago he was out on a delivery route when he had to spring into action. Carlson had to help a woman experiencing a medical emergency.

“She was in a diabetic coma,” he continued, “laying on the living room floor.”

She knew he was coming and told him to rush into the house to help her.

“‘Get the orange juice,’ she says, ‘and there’s a roll in the bread box,” Carlson said.

Once he got her the juice and bread, “she got better,” he said.

Volunteers not only provide food delivery and grocery shopping but more.

“Medical transportation, friendly visits,” Dana Thewis, the Program Coordinator at Community Partners, said.

She is tasked with training around 100 volunteers in the small North Shore town.

On Wednesday, she trained about 30 of them in preparation for winter.

According to Meals On Wheels, about 2.4 million seniors get fed using the program each year.

Thewis said the need for volunteers in the Northland never stops.

“As we get more volunteers, I can fill folks in for parts of a route and that can make it more manageable,” she said.

As winter rolls into Northeastern Minnesota, it can be more challenging to get essential services to people.

Not only do some volunteers travel south for the season, but those who need help don’t have loved ones nearby.

“A lot of our participants at least, their family may not live locally,” she said, “and so if they live down in [Minneapolis or St. Paul] or as far as Arizona, they can’t just drive up and visit, they can’t just fly and visit.”

If you or someone you know can use one of Community Partners’ services or would like to volunteer, visit their website here.