By: Angie Harris
The Meals on Wheels Association of America says South Carolina ranks second in the nation in the number of senior citizens needing help with meals. The Midlands Meals on Wheels program is struggling to meet the growing backlog of people asking for help.
Donna Hartless decided to volunteer with the nonprofit after she retired last year.
"My grandfather I used to go and clean his house with my children and sometimes I kinda thought perhaps he wasn't getting enough to eat. And it used to worry me," Hartless said.
Annie Eveleigh is the Director of Development at Senior Resources, a program that aims to keep senior citizens in their homes for as long as possible. She says the bad economy is forcing more people to turn to Meals on Wheels. That means there is a waiting list for the service and it is getting longer.
"Normally it runs 15-20 people. If we had 10 my first couple years we thought we would panic we had so many people on the waiting list. This last year we've had as high as 160," Eveleigh said.
A new partnership with Walmart could help the program out though. Walmart gave a $5 million grant to Meals on Wheels to purchase refrigerators, stoves, and more trucks in the Midlands.
The volunteers say the new equipment should make it easier for the program to reach more homebound people who need food.