Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Volunteer With Senior Services

(File photo)
(File photo)

HOWELL – If you’re looking for a way to give back to your community, a good way to do so would be to volunteer with Howell Senior Services.

The township’s Senior Services program is currently seeking volunteers for their Meals on Wheels program, delivering food to homebound seniors in Howell.

Meals on Wheels is just one of many programs facilitated by Senior Services. According to Melanie Decker, director of Howell Senior Services, the program is run by local nonprofit Interfaith Neighbors, Inc.

Interfaith Neighbors “is a non-profit organization founded in May 1988 when local faith communities came together to address the growing problem of homelessness. Over the years, our services have grown to now include seven distinct programs serving all of Monmouth County,” including a nutrition program, according to their website.

Decker explained that members of Interfaith contribute in two ways. They provide lunches to seniors at the center on weekdays for a $2.50 donation. More directly, they deliver the meals to homebound seniors involved in the program – Meals on Wheels – which is also a $2.50 donation.

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“We have approximately 60+ seniors that receive MOW [Meals on Wheels] each day. Volunteers would have to come to the center and pick up the meals and deliver them to each person,” said Decker.

A typical day for a MOW volunteer would begin at around 10:30-11 a.m. when they arrive at the senior center to pick up the food to be delivered. Volunteers are assigned a specific route so that all the meals can be delivered efficiently, and use their own vehicle to transport them.

“They then bring back the coolers and any meals that couldn’t be delivered to the center and are done,” she added. “People are usually done by noon or 1 p.m., depending on when they started.”

It’s a short day with a big reward. The entire volunteer process takes approximately two hours to complete. You can choose to extend this by visiting with homebound seniors and keeping them company, she said.

“Anyone interested in volunteering can contact me at 732-938-4500 ext. 2550. Any senior that requires this service can also contact me,” Decker added.

While Senior Services keeps busy feeding hungry mouths in Howell, they have a lot more on their plate as well.

In addition to Meals on Wheels, they also facilitate a Senior Bullying Awareness program. An educational program on the issue of senior bullying was held on June 17 at the Aldrich School.

Some other programs include:

  • Free Bereavement and Caregiver Support Groups run by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • ESL [English Language] Classes for seniors,
  • Alzheimer’s Work Shops.

For more information on Howell Senior Services’ programs or how to get involved, visit twp.howell.nj.us/211/Senior-Services, or contact director Melanie Decker at 732-938-4500 ext. 2550.