Local News

More drivers needed for Meals on Wheels Program

SEBRING At 93-years-old Lester Reinbolt might be someone you would expect at that age to be a client of a program like Meals on Wheels that delivers lunch, typically to senior citizens. But you’d be wrong. Reinbolt, who is accompanied by Marilyn, his wife, has delivered meals for about nine years for Sebring Meals on Wheels. “I wanted to do a little bit of charity,” Reinbolt said about why he volunteered after reading an article about Meals on Wheels, a program that delivers meals five days a week and operates without any tax money.
Meals on Wheels leaders hope that more people like Reinbolt will volunteer to deliver lunches. This is the time of the year more drivers are needed because some return to their northern homes, Terry Smalley, operations director, said. This year the need is more acute because some other drivers are retiring, she said. “We need replacement drivers.” Smalley said they also need substitute drivers in case someone is ill. And as of Friday, at least two were hospitalized, she said. Other drivers pick up the slack, she added. Eugene Fernsler, the president of Sebring Meals on Wheels, said about 70 to 85 people receive lunches every day and that they have about 35 to 40 drivers, who volunteer varying numbers of hours per week. The number of people receiving meals varies. Some people only need the service while recuperating from illness. Last Friday, Reinbolt and other drivers delivered a meal that included fish with dill sauce, cottage cheese, Spanish rice, creamed spinach, cookie and milk. The cooking staff at the Palms, an assisted living facility, prepared the food, as it has for several years. Mac Gentleman, the chef, said his staff took it over after Kenilworth Lodge talked about increasing prices. Gentleman said the price has remained the same. Fernsler said they get about three requests for participation per week and no one is on a waiting list. But the community must support the program for it to continue, he said. Those who wish to volunteer can call Smalley at (863) 402-1818. Volunteer drivers are only asked to commit to about two hours a week, although they can give more time, he said. Marilyn Reinbolt said she and her husband deliver about 12 meals each time. Each delivery serves as a check on the welfare of the clients, she said, adding that one time they stopped twice at a residence and a woman didn’t come to her door, which was unusual. They made further calls, but they found out the woman had been at a doctor’s appointment, she said. “For some of them, it’s the only time of the day they see somebody else,” she said.


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