Frequently Asked Questions About Volunteering
Frequently Asked Questions About Volunteering
Administrative volunteers are welcome to schedule time in our office(s) Monday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm.
Dining Site volunteers are generally needed at various locations between 10:30am -1:00pm on weekdays.
Central Kitchen volunteers are needed for various hours between 8:00am and 6:00pm on weekdays.
Meals on Wheels drivers deliver meals between 10:30am-1:30pm on weekdays. You can choose to volunteer once per month, once per week, or every week day if you want.
We appreciate ALL our volunteers and ANY time they spend helping!
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!
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! We serve Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties.
If you do not want a regular route, you can always request to be a substitute volunteer for those days in which regular volunteers call in sick or otherwise cannot volunteer.
You need to take one of us! But seriously, the Meals on Wheels staff are able to 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 your local Meals on Wheels office so we have enough time to find a substitute volunteer. If you are interested in being an on-call/substitute Meals on Wheels volunteer, we need you!
Any TCOA volunteer who will be gone for an extended period of time should notify their supervisor with as much advanced notice as possible.
No. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to stay open on weekends. We do our best to make sure that seniors 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 has volunteer opportunities through 6pm and can sometimes accommodate weekend requests for groups.
Yes! TCOA benefits greatly from groups and businesses who “Adopt a Route!” Area groups or businesses allow their employees to volunteer to deliver meals over the lunch hour. 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 meals 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 Casey at 517-887-1377 to inquire about adopting a route or group opportunities.
- Ability to pass a criminal history-only background check. Please note that a record does not automatically disqualify you.
- A valid driver’s license (ONLY if delivering meals or commodity/produce boxes.)
- Participate in the orientation specific to your program.
- Sign a confidentiality agreement.
Meals on Wheels volunteers participate in a ride-along experience with a current, experienced volunteer. They will make sure you are comfortable with reading the route sheet/map, as well as the instructions for each client and what food they get. This one-on-one training gives you a chance to ask ANY questions you may have about the program or delivery procedures!
Other TCOA volunteer programs have training or orientations specific to that program. Just ask if you’re curious.