With a 46 percent increase in the number of meals delivered through the Union Senior Center’s Meals on Wheels program in the last year alone, the center is now seeking volunteers to help deliver the meals to homebound seniors in Union and surrounding communities.

Administrator Cathy Christensen said the number of meals delivered has increased by about 30 meals served daily in the last year — from about 65 to about 95 meals delivered every day.

The biggest need is for a volunteer to deliver in the Villa Ridge area on Wednesdays, though Christensen said she could use up to five volunteers willing to help out one or two days per week to create a new route.

“The routes are increasing for the volunteers who do deliver, with some up to 20 (more) people,” she said.

The center currently has four routes and delivers in the city limits to as far as Highway 185 near Sullivan, Highway 47 toward St. Clair and in Villa Ridge.

Meals are delivered Mondays through Fridays from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition to getting a hot meal, participants also see a smiling face and get brief interaction with another person.

“The interactions (between clients and volunteers) are very valuable,” said Christensen, noting that meals also are healthy and nutritious.

Some seniors want to continue living at home, but are unable to cook or to care for specific dietary needs. In some instances, they resort to meals that are high in sodium or they don’t eat a well-rounded diet, she said.

The center suggests a donation of $4 per meal, however, clients can pay whatever they can afford.

Volunteers are required to complete an application and a background check.

Delivery typically takes about 45 minutes to an hour, with the exception of the Villa Ridge route, which takes up to an hour and a half, Christensen said.

Those who need home-delivered meals or would like to volunteer may call 636- 583-5432 or email union@mid-eastaaa.org.

The Meals on Wheels program is run through the Mid-East Area Agency onAging (MEAAA), which includes Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties.

About Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs across the country. The organization is dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger.

This network exists in virtually every community in America and, along with more than 2 million volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity.