Students will soon be filling up classrooms and some snow birds will be on their way to somewhere warmer for the winter, meaning a volunteer-based operation is losing a lot of staff.
"I retired in 2006 and moved to Sioux Falls. I knew about Meals On Wheels so I started them immediately after," said Volunteer Duane Rhoadarmer.
Going on 10 years, Duane Rhoadarmer has been driving and delivering for Meals On Wheels.
“Every day Monday through Friday, and I usually do a route twice or three times sometimes even 4 times a week,” he said.
The Meals On Wheels program hands out roughly 350 meals a day.
A handful of which are delivered by Duane himself.
"They're very grateful, they're very appreciative, they're very glad to get it because some of them have great difficulty trying to make any meal themselves."
It’s not only the food recipients that depend on Duane, the organization behind Meals On Wheels does too.
"Without volunteers, we could not deliver meals,” said Active Generations Nutrition Director Priscilla Thornton. “It’s as simple as that. We couldn't afford to do it."
To deliver the 350 daily meals, Active Generations need about 100 volunteers a week - people that are in short supply at summer ends.
Typical volunteers are snowbirds like Duane, who head out for warmer winters, or college students going back to school in the fall, leaving the Meals On Wheels program hungry.
"Do we have opportunities for volunteers to do it one time a month, one time a week, bi monthly, whatever works for them, we make it work for us, but we do need our volunteers,” said Thornton.
Along with the satisfaction of delivering someone a warm meal, those involved with the organization say the Meals On Wheels program is also very rewarding
"Honestly, for a lot of the people that we serve it’s their only human contact for the day, and you really feel it when you’re delivering, it’s such a rewarding opportunity because it’s like, they’re so happy to see you. They’re often waiting at the door to see you and it feels so good. You’re getting as much as you’re giving, certainly."
More information on the program and opportunities to volunteer can be found here: http://activegenerations.org/support-services/nutrition-program/meals-on-wheels/