Pay It Forward: Volunteer for STEP Seniors

Paying it forward: Carol and Dick Thornton volunteer for STEP by delivering meals to seniors in need in the Meadows of Dan area.

STEP is seeking volunteers in Patrick County to help deliver hot nutritious meals to home-bound senior citizens and to assist the Senior Services program in other ways.

Senior Services offers home-delivered meals (Meals On Wheels), congregate (group) meals, and transportation services to seniors in Patrick County who qualify. The program is funded through grants and relies heavily on volunteers to provide services to seniors in need. During 2017-18 in Patrick County, STEP delivered 8,022 meals to 37 home-bound clients, served 3,183 meals to 72 congregate clients, and transported 27 senior citizens a total of 30,979 miles during 2,061 trips for medical appointments, shopping and other necessary trips.

According to figures from the US Census Bureau, in 2017 almost 24 percent of the population in Patrick County was 60 years old and older. In STEP’s service area, which includes Patrick County, the median age of area residents is nearly 10 years older than the state and national averages. Further, according to the University of Virginia, the Commonwealth’s elderly population (65 or older) is expected to double by 2030 and will account for about 1 in five Virginians (

“The need for volunteers grows along-side the increase in our elderly population,” said Senior Services Director Doris Fain. “Imagine having worked your entire life to serve and support your family and your community to find yourself in need in your golden years. Volunteering brings a smile and much needed support to our seniors. Volunteers pay it forward by giving back to the community.”

Volunteer opportunities include delivering hot and bagged meals in the Stuart and Ararat areas; packing meals and delivering to seniors on established routes in the county once a month; transporting seniors in STEP vehicles to the doctor, pharmacy or grocery store; and assisting at the congregate sites with group activities and serving lunch.

Volunteers can schedule hours for as little as one to two or three-hours a day, Fain said. No special training is required, and those with special skills, knitting for example, can share and lead projects at the congregate sites. According to Fain criteria to volunteer is minimal and includes a DMV and background check for those delivering meals and/or driving. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old.

For more information, call Fain at (276) 694-2239, ext. 4207.






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