Volunteers needed to deliver meals in Saratoga County


SARATOGA COUNTY – Officials at the Saratoga County Office for Aging would like to resume delivering hot meals to homebound seniors on weekdays, as they did before the pandemic began in March 2020.

But the agency needs more volunteer drivers to complete this important task, county officials said late last week.

Due to the pandemic, the Office for the Aging makes bulk deliveries of frozen meals to homes once a week.

In an interview on Sunday, longtime volunteer driver Meg Gorman of Mechanicville reviewed the schedule of volunteer drivers in her area and expressed concern.

“There are a lot of empty slots on the calendar for November and December,” said Gorman, who, along with her husband Tony Delveccio, delivers to his hometown area and other communities across the county as needed.

“In fact, we don’t have anyone specific on Mondays, and Thursdays and Fridays look pretty sad too,” said Gorman, who has been volunteering for about 10 years since retiring from Canada. Mechanicville Public Safety Department.

It’s a similar picture across the region, as county officials appealed for its “urgent need” for volunteer drivers.

The Office of Aging delivers 1,400 meals every weekday to housebound people aged 60 and over in Saratoga County.

There are 34 delivery routes throughout the county each day, and its roster has approximately 220 volunteers. However, only 40% volunteer, according to Christine Rush, county public relations manager.

“We need as many volunteers as possible,” she said in a statement.

The program provides seniors with a nutritious ready-to-eat meal every day of the week. Seniors also have the option of having a frozen meal that they can enjoy later for dinner.

Volunteers are particularly sought after in the Saratoga, Schuylerville, Hadley, Edinburg, Galway, Greenfield, Malta, Mechanicville, Moreau and Wilton areas.

Meals are prepared, packaged and ready for transport at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Volunteers collect meals at one of the nine sites in the county and deliver them to a predetermined list of participating seniors.

Delivery typically takes about an hour. Volunteer schedules are flexible to meet their availability.

The requirements for volunteers are that individuals must submit documents, including references, to the Saratoga County Office for Aging. Volunteers must have a valid driver’s license and their own vehicle. Training and orientation are offered to all volunteers.

Those interested in volunteering can contact Billie Jo McConkey at the Saratoga County Office for Aging at 518-884-4020.

Gorman noted that she doesn’t just deliver food to people confined to the house.

She also tries to put a smile on their faces.

“I have a few characters and they like to chat,” Gorman said, explaining that her husband, Delveccio, waits patiently in the car while she generally jokes with customers.

“It’s hard to just drop and run,” she said.

David Clairmont Sr., 82, of Ballston Spa, said he was anxiously awaiting delivery.

The delivery guy places the bags of food near his refrigerator for him to put away, and Clairmont said he appreciates when they ask him how he’s doing.

“YesYou couldn’t ask for a better group of people, ”he said. “They take good care of you. “

Clairmont said he hadn’t left his home for about a year, except to use his walker to step out into his driveway for some fresh air.

With no family in the area and an assortment of illnesses that limit him to only being able to whip up a can of soup or a sandwich for hot meals, Clairmont depends on the Saratoga County Office of Aging for food.

The nearest grocery store, Stewart’s, is almost a mile away.

“Without these meals, there is no way I could live here,” Clairmont said. “They did so much so that I could stay at home. “

Clairmont, who is on oxygen, said the food was good too.

“There’s nothing wrong with that,” said Clairmont, who has a soft spot for the various chicken dishes – pulled chicken, chicken pie, and barbecue chicken – and the agency’s fish.

“I haven’t had a single meal that I can complain about. I’m not crazy about chili. It’s not like the chili I was used to 40 years ago. But that’s not 40 years ago either, ”he laughed.

Clairmont said he has been living alone since his wife died 18 years ago. He has a parrot and a dog to keep him company.

“The last thing I want to do is leave my house,” he said, thanking the meal delivery program for making this possible, “and I’ve been here for 45 years.

Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.

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