TCOA offers several programs to fit our volunteers’ unique abilities, interests, and schedules. These opportunities include: delivering Meals on Wheels, supporting a senior dining site, preparing and packaging meal trays and boxes in our central kitchen, delivering commodity boxes through the Senior Proxy Project, facilitating evidence-based programs, offering health insurance counseling through the Medicare-Medicaid Assistance Program, placing check-in phone calls through the Friendly Reassurance program, and assisting with essential administrative tasks. Please see the description of each role in the Volunteer Application or by viewing this flyer.
The days and times that you can volunteer depend on the operating hours of your program and the schedule communicated between you and your program’s coordinator. Typically, volunteers can assist within the following days and times:
- Meals on Wheels drivers: 10:30am-1:30pm on weekdays.
- Dining site volunteers: 10:30am -1:00pm on weekdays.
- Central kitchen volunteers: 9:00am and 2:00pm on weekdays (volunteer groups may schedule weekend events).
- Senior Proxy Project volunteers: 9:00am and 3:30pm on weekdays.
- Evidence-based program and MMAP volunteers: Schedule determined through communication between the volunteers and the program coordinators.
- Friendly Reassurance callers: Schedule determined through communication between volunteers and program participants.
- Administrative volunteers: 9:00am and 4:00pm on weekdays.
- Ability to pass a conviction-only background check. Please note that a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you.
- A valid driver’s license (ONLY if delivering meals or commodity/produce boxes).
- Participation in the orientation specific to your program.
- Signature on our confidentiality agreement and job description.
Individuals interested in remotely volunteering for the Tri-County Office on Aging can support the Friendly Reassurance phone call program. The Friendly Reassurance Program provides regular, informal check-in and conversational phone calls to older adults throughout Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties. Volunteers place phone calls using their own phone and can place calls from their homes.
We typically ask for a commitment of at least three months for Meals on Wheels volunteers. Some programs, like MMAP and our evidence-based programs, expect a greater commitment. Other programs, such as helping in the Central Kitchen, can be done as frequently and for as long as you like. If you want to volunteer one time, consider helping in the Central Kitchen, or you could assist at one of our special events (Golf Outing or Dinner and Auction).
Our Meals on Wheels staff members try to make routes short enough so that one route can be completed in about one hour.
First, you use your own vehicle to pick up the bag of hot food and cooler with cold food from the designated drop-site. You’ll know which ones to pick up because they will have your route number on them. There are drop-sites located throughout Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties so that they are located as close to the route as possible.
Next, you use the route sheet found in the cooler to begin delivering! The sheet tells you where to deliver, and what type of food each client gets. There are typically 10-12 clients on each route. There may be additional information about locating or entering the residence or communicating with the client. A map is also included. Each delivery may only take a few minutes from the time you approach the entrance to when you leave. Some clients take a little longer to open the door, and some like to chat more than others. On rare occasions (when a client doesn’t answer the door, for example) you are asked to call the Meal on Wheels Office for instructions. When all deliveries are complete, you return the cooler, hot bag, and signed route sheet back to the drop-site. That’s it!
No. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to stay open on weekends. We do our best to make sure that participants who need it receive frozen meals to get them through the weekend.
Generally, most volunteer opportunities at TCOA occur during our open hours, Monday-Friday between 8am-5pm. One exception is the Central Kitchen, which can sometimes accommodate weekend requests for groups.
I want to deliver Meals on Wheels but I don't have free time between 10:30am-1pm. Is there anything similar I can do?
Yes! You can volunteer with the Senior Proxy Project. Volunteer delivery drivers pick up and deliver commodity boxes and fresh produce boxes to seniors who are unable to leave their home. Like Meals on Wheels, it should take the driver about one hour to complete the deliveries. Unlike Meals on Wheels, it can be done any time between 9am-3:30pm on weekdays. These deliveries occur from the 13th to the end of month, every month. Volunteer as few or as many times as you want.
It is typical for Meals on Wheels volunteers to deliver the same route on a regular schedule that they determine with the Meals on Wheels volunteer coordinator. We will work with you to find a route in the geographic area that you choose. Please keep in mind that some areas are in greater need than other areas, and although we do our best to find you a route in the area you desire, we appreciate if you are willing to travel!
If you do not want a regular route, you can always request to be a substitute volunteer to help on days in which scheduled volunteers call in sick or otherwise cannot volunteer.
Call or email your supervisor. If you are a Meals on Wheels volunteer, we appreciate having as much notice as possible so we can get someone else to cover your route.
The TCOA and Meals on Wheels staff can accommodate our volunteers who may be away for the winter season or vacation. We ask that you provide as much advanced notice as you can by calling the TCOA office or your local Meals on Wheels office to give us enough time to find a substitute volunteer if needed.
Yes! You may be the only person some of our clients see/talk with all day. If you have time, we’re sure they would appreciate a little conversation with you!
Mileage reimbursement is available. Please request a form to submit to your Meals on Wheels Coordinator.
Many people find it fun to deliver meals with a friend or relative. That said, every adult who will be delivering meals must complete a TCOA volunteer application and background check. Minor children are not required to submit an application or background check form.
Yes! When groups and businesses “Adopt a Route,” they ensure that Meals on Wheels participants have valuable and reliable access to good nutrition and community connections. That said, the business is responsible for making sure the route is covered on their designated days.
Additionally, the TCOA Central Kitchen is the perfect place for employees or members of your business or group to complete a day of service. Volunteers help package the meal bags and boxes that will be delivered to seniors and get a behind-the-scenes look at the great work that goes into making Meals on Wheels successful.
Please call the Volunteer & Outreach Specialist at 517-887-1487 or email [email protected] to inquire about adopting a route or group opportunities.
Volunteers in each of our programs usually find the time spent helping seniors to be personally rewarding, not to mention it meets a tremendous community need. Current and former volunteers often acknowledge the value of the friendships they’ve built, the trust they’ve established with the older adults that they visit or support, and the heartwarming responsibility of allowing these seniors to stay in their homes and connect with their community. By volunteering with TCOA, you are helping older adults to age in place with independence and dignity.
Apply online here, email [email protected], or call the Volunteer and Outreach Specialist at 517-887-1487.
Once we receive your application, we will follow up with you promptly. If you do not hear from us in 1-3 business days, check your spam/junk folder, and then email [email protected] or call 517-887-1487. Feel free to call us with any questions you may have.
We appreciate your help spreading the word about TCOA volunteer opportunities! We have a collection of helpful materials and links for promoting TCOA.
- General Volunteer Flyer: PDF, JPG
- Tear-Tab Volunteer Flyer: PDF, JPG
- Meals on Wheels Volunteer Flyer: PDF, JPG
If you choose to distribute flyers at local businesses or on private properties, please ask for permission from the owner before proceeding.
TCOA is also on social media. Make sure to tag us when spreading the word so we can thank you!
We also market our volunteer opportunities in our monthly E-newsletter. Make sure to subscribe by entering your name and email in the subscription form on the right side of this page.