Aging Matters in Brevard seeks more volunteer drivers


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Mayor Thomas Price delivered Meals on Wheels with Aging Matters in Brevard in March 2018 as part of March for Meals Community Champions Week.

Jill Blue

Aging Matters in Brevard has been a strong force in helping Brevard County’s senior population and veterans.

Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 2018, 727 people were served more than 100,000 meals through its Meals on Wheels program. During that time, 174 clients also were transported on more than 3,500 trips through its TranServe program.

“TranServe is a one-on-one service, where a volunteer picks up a client from their home, doctor’s appointments, social events or shopping,” said Paula Schroeder, communications manager. “They bring them to wherever they want to go and will wait for them and bring them home again.”

“We don’t have enough volunteers to meet that demand,’’ said Josh Jensen, the president and CEO. “For both of our TranServe programs (seniors and veterans) and our Meals and Wheels routes, we are always short of drivers. We have an ongoing need in Titusville, but our biggest need is in Palm Bay.’’

“Our senior population is exploding in Brevard County,” added Schroeder, “which is why we have a waiting list. We need more volunteers and more funding. We go through about 500 volunteers every week because we’re servicing 100 routes throughout the county, five days a week.”

To assist more clients, the organization is looking for 20 volunteers to assist with Meals on Wheels and TranServe.

To qualify, volunteers need to have a vehicle that is in good working order, a valid driver’s license and insurance.

Prospective volunteers should first call the organization to express their interest, then complete an application. Aging Matters in Brevard will cover the cost of the background check. Volunteers then complete a training session, where a coordinator ensures that their vehicle is appropriate for transporting seniors or veterans.

Volunteer drivers 55 years or older can enroll in the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, which offers additional volunteer insurance.

“If you volunteer for either TranServe or Meals and Wheels, you will see the direct impact you are making when you meet the person you are helping,’’ Schroeder said. “It’s a win-win for the organization and the volunteers. We’ve had volunteers with us for 30 years who don’t miss a week.”