Volunteer Q&A

Q&A for becoming a volunteer

What are the qualifications for becoming a volunteer driver?
All volunteer drivers must meet the following criteria:

  • Must possess a valid driver’s license
  • Must have access to a reliable vehicle with proper insurance
  • Must be able to work independently
  • Must know and observe current traffic laws
  • Must have a friendly, caring attitude toward people

What is the minimum time commitment for becoming a volunteer driver?
We ask that all volunteer drivers commit to a minimum of route per month. Routes normally take 1-1 ½ hours to complete. We try to select routes that are convenient for our volunteers, but occasionally volunteers will choose routes that are further away, and may take longer than an hour.

What are the responsibilities of a volunteer driver?
As a volunteer driver, you will be responsible for delivering meals to as many as 14 clients on one route. These individuals depend on Meals on Wheels for 2/3 of their recommended daily nutrition. In addition, we ask that our volunteers check on these clients’ welfare, and if necessary, report any concerns to the office. For a more detailed description of “A day in the life of a MOW driver,” please click here.

Q&A regarding the “what if’s” of volunteering

What if I’m running late?
Please contact the office immediately so that clients waiting for their food and the meal preparation facilities may be notified.

What if I’m unable to deliver on my scheduled day?
Please contact the office immediately so arrangements for a substitute can be made. It’s imperative that you let us know you won’t be available as soon as possible—whether it’s a day, a week or a month in advance.

What if weather conditions make delivery impossible?
Though we very rarely cancel meal delivery, when inclement conditions exist, please call the office or check the following local broadcast media for cancellations before heading out:

Radio                                Television
• WFMS 95.5 FM       • WRTV Channel 6
• WGRL 93.9 FM       • WISH Channel 8
• WIJK 104.5 FM       • WTHR Channel 13

What if I am asked to provide information about clients?
Please remember: All information, including a client’s name, address, phone number and other data, is CONFIDENTIAL. In order for a client’s information to be released to any party, that client must sign a release. Please contact the office immediately if you are asked for information about a client.

Q&A regarding safety while performing volunteer driver duties

What should I do if a client does not answer the door?
When a client fails to answer the door, please contact the office as soon as you can so that staff may notify an emergency contact person. Unless advance arrangements have been made for leaving the meals in a cooler or other secure container, do not leave the meals. Please return the meals to the preparation facility or to the Meals on Wheels office.

What should I do if asked to leave a meal on the doorstep?
Sometimes clients prefer to open the door after a driver has left. Because of the dangers of leaving meals on the doorstep, such as a client falling when bending to pick the meal up, or the meal being attacked by pets or pests, we ask volunteers to leave meals only in a secured container or cooler. Sometimes during cooler months, meals can be placed in a plastic shopping bag on the client’s door, so volunteers should consider carrying a few of these bags on their routes.

Warm weather alert!
If you must leave meals, be extra careful to ensure the meals are placed in coolers with ice packs. Never leave meals in an improper place or container. Call the office if you’re unsure of what to do.

When should I call 911?
You should call 911 anytime there is immediate danger either to you or the client. Then, please notify the office. We ask that you stay on the scene until emergency help arrives and emergency personnel have released you.

What should I do if a client has fallen?
Never move or attempt to move a client who has fallen, even when that client insists upon being helped. Such “assistance,” unfortunately, could cause further injury. Instead, call 911 and the office and wait with the client until emergency help arrives. In addition, when applicable, please notify the client’s leasing office or building management of the emergency.

What should I do if I notice deterioration in a client’s physical or mental well-being?
If you notice a significant change in a client’s physical or mental well-being, and have concerns about that client’s safety, please contact the office so the appropriate emergency contact and authorities can be notified.

What should I do if a client asks for small housekeeping favors while I am there?
Clients may ask you to perform a number of small housekeeping favors—anything from changing a light bulb to bringing in the postal mail or reading a message. Please feel free to comply with these small requests as long as they don’t significantly delay or interfere with meal delivery. You should not comply with bigger requests, such as providing transportation, physical care or chore service. Please notify the office if I client has a need for these types of services. If you choose to assist these clients on your own time, please remember you are not representing Meals on Wheels.

What should I do if a meal delivery seems unsafe?
The safety of our volunteer drivers is of utmost importance to us. If you come across a situation while you’re delivering that seems unsafe, such as a vicious dog, inaccessible entrance or domestic dispute, do not risk your well-being. Instead, please contact the office immediately so that emergency actions can be taken and the obstruction or problem can be solved. Never leave your keys in your car, or your car unlocked or running in your absence.

If you have questions or are interested in becoming a Meals on Wheels volunteer, please give us a call at (317) 252-5558 or e-mail us.