Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels sees fewer volunteers during bad weather conditions

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — Getting around in snow and on slick roads isn’t easy. Not many people want to drive in these conditions, and one volunteer organization is seeing, too.

The Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels might get calls from volunteers saying they can’t come in and help because of the road conditions, but that doesn’t change the need to feed seniors.

Tom Porter grabbed his bag of meals and made his way to his car to start delivering. But first, before fully getting into the car, he was seen stomping his feet to get snow off his boots.

“It’s never really too bad. This is about the worst I’ve seen in several years,” Porter told 4 News Now.

For Porter, the conditions aren’t bad for him to drive in, but it could be feel too dangerous for other volunteers. Since this is the Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels, they go out into rural areas, too, where roads aren’t as well maintained like the ones in city limits.

“A lot of our drivers are seniors themselves and so we’re concerned for their safety, and want to make sure that if they don’t feel safe to drive that day they feel comfortable to call in, said Jeff Edwards, the executive director for the Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels. “We’ll find someone to fill it and make sure they’re ready for the next day.”

When volunteers say they can’t help, that means more routes will be given  volunteers who do show up. Volunteers generally have one route a day, delivering to a few people, but on days with fewer volunteers, they might get a second or third route.

It normally takes about an hour to deliver food, but during bad weather conditions and fewer people, it could take two or more hours.

“What we found is our seniors who are relying on these foods, they get a little nervous. They’re worried if they’re going to be able to eat that day. There’s kind of a sense of relief when the volunteers do show up, because then they get to eat. Every senior deserves the joy of a meal, and that’s something we try to provide,” Edwards said.

Porter has delivered meals to other seniors for more than 10 years now. He’s seen a lot, has a lot of stories and ultimately enjoys doing it.

“It’s fun to visit with these people. A lot of them, I’m probably the only one they see all day. It makes you feel good,” Porter said.

The organization is always looking for more drivers, especially those who can drive well in the snow and have appropriate cars. Visit the Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels website to learn how to help.