SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — With rising costs, more older adults are turning to Meals on Wheels of Syracuse, and the organization needs additional volunteers to help serve them all.

“We have 30 routes that we need volunteer drivers for, and that’s 150 volunteers every week,” said Michael Nortman, the Community Relations Director for Meals on Wheels of Syracuse.

According to Nortman, most of their volunteers are retired or in college. So, they tend to get into a bind around the holidays.

Right now, they need to fill about two to three routes a day.

“This time of year, a lot of our older volunteers tend to move south for the winter and that leaves some holes in our process. If we don’t have enough volunteers then we go deliver the meals,” said Nortman.

When they do that, it takes them away from their office jobs. For Nortman, that means he’s not actively searching for volunteers.

As someone who has delivered countless meals, Nortman said it’s not just about feeding our neighbors. For some of them who live alone, it’s about being their friend.

“We have one gentleman who doesn’t like Fridays because
he knows he won’t see anybody until Monday.”

Michael Nortman

For many volunteers, the bond they build goes both ways.

You meet a lot of really interesting people. We’ve had clients who were national models in the 50s, we’ve had fighter pilots from WWII. It’s kind of like peeling an onion. You get to know these people and they’re very interesting. It’s a rewarding experience for both the volunteer and the clients.

Michael Nortman

If you want to learn more or help out, visit their website or call 315-478-5948.

Nortman said businesses can also sign up to take a weekly route.