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Paynesville Press - October 31, 2001

Drivers needed to deliver noon meals

New funding for the local home-delivered meals program will make it possible to create a driver's appreciation fund, starting in November, which could help recruit much-needed drivers.

Senior dining coordinator Linda Manz would like to establish a regular schedule of drivers for the program and is looking for volunteers to drive on a weekly or monthly basis. The deliveries are broken into two daily routes that leave the Paynesville Area Center at 11 a.m. Manz needs 10 drivers per week.

So far she has four regular weekly drivers and two regular monthly drivers. This means she must resort to phone calling to find six drivers every week.

Manz has a regular driver on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. But she needs more regular drivers and more substitutes. Currently, she has 16 drivers or two-somes that form a driving team.

Each route is less than 20 miles and takes an hour or less to drive.

Using donations from Ada Engelbretson, from the Paynesville Sportsmen's Club, and collected by the Paynesville Area Charity Fund Drive, an appreciation fund for the driver's will be established. Around $3,400 is needed for the appreciation fund for an entire year.

Starting on Thursday, Nov. 1, drivers will receive a meal ticket for the senior dining noon meal for each day that they volunteer. Drivers will also receive a $4 gift certificate per day for gasoline.

Drivers can use the gift certificates for fuel when they drive. (Volunteers must use their own vehicle.) They can use the meal ticket for a noon lunch or donate it to a senior of their choice. Since the first of the year, the program has been run by Catholic Charities in conjunction with the senior dining program at the Paynesville Area Center. In the nine months since the change, the home-delivered meals program has brought 3,700 noon meals to elderly residents and shut-in on weekdays.

The late Gladys Deadrick started the local home-delivered meals program more than 30 years ago. A local committee ran the program for a decade following Deadrick's death.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Manz at 320-243-4575.

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