College Students Are Stepping Up As Volunteer Drivers For Meals On Wheels

Many Meals on Wheels drivers have had to stay home due to COVID-19, so college students are filling in.

Food is loaded into a car.
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Many Meals on Wheels drivers have had to stay home due to COVID-19, so college students are filling in.

College students are helping out after many older Meals on Wheels volunteers have been forced to stay home due to COVID-19. Meals on Wheels helps bring hot meals to elderly or homebound members of the community, and the organization is continuing to operate throughout the pandemic due to some generous young helpers, according to The Washington Post.

For Ann and Bill Walker of Mercer County New Jersey, working as volunteers for Meals on Wheels is a major part of their daily life. However, at 85 and 83 years old, they fall into the category of people that must take special precautions in an effort to avoid getting the coronavirus. Because they had to engage in social distancing, they became homebound themselves and they could no longer deliver meals to those in need.

The decision to step back as volunteers was hard on the couple, who have forged connections with those they deliver food to.

“I didn’t want to stop at all, but we knew we needed to,” Ann told The Washington Post.

“It was a hard decision. When you see someone every week for years, you become friends, and you know that sometimes you are the only person they will see all day,” agreed Bill.

They are not alone. In Mercer County, 60 of the 180 volunteers for Meals on Wheels have had to step back in order to practice social distancing. But luckily, 45 new volunteers have stepped up to the plate to help. Around 20 of these new volunteers are college students now at home due to the pandemic.

Nate Byrnes, a 21-year-old student who attends the College of New Jersey, is one of these young helpers. When he found out about the dire need for volunteer drivers, he was happy to assist. He knew how hard many people were working right now to help others and wanted to do something to contribute, he explained.

“I was trying to figure out something, anything, that I could do to help. All of the ambulance squads are totally overwhelmed. ERs are totally overwhelmed. I feel like it’s a really good way to be able to do something to help, especially when it seems like right now there aren’t that many ways we can help.”

Meals on Wheels delivers meals to around 2.4 million seniors nationwide, many of whom live alone.

As The Inquisitr previously reported, many young people are doing their part to help others during this global health crisis. For example, a 15-year-old girl named Shaivi Shah of California has been putting together and distributing sanitation kits for the homeless members of her community.