GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Local seniors are at risk of going hungry.
It’s all because of lack of funding and volunteers for the Meals on Wheels program in Pitt County. More than a hundred people currently sit on a waiting list.
Many people take things for granted like getting three nutritious meals a day.
One 90-year-old woman said she needs help putting food on her table.
“No bread in the house, no meat in the house, now I have to wait until someone comes to take me to the store,” commented Francis Bell, who lives alone. She added that throughout the day, she relies on several caregivers to make sure she is showered, dressed, and fed. “The girls don’t come to cook, because they got other things they have to do. When they don’t come to cook, I have to send off people to get food or get someone to go get it.”
She’s one of 115 people on a waiting list for the program.
Executive Director Rich Zeck said the list is getting longer and longer due to low funding and not enough volunteers, “It’s not just a meal, it’s more than that. It’s human contact. Many of the individuals are isolated, depressed which leads to a weakened immune system and it leads to sickness and it leads to diseases and falls.”
Zeck said, right now, he’s 45 volunteers short.
Volunteers like Phil Bullock said it only takes about 45 minutes once a week. He said more people should take the time out of their busy schedule to help those in need get a hot meal.
Bell said she hopes enough people will donate their time to get her off the wait list and get her a hot meal in Ayden.
9 On Your Side asked other counties about their waiting lists.
Onslow County has around 50 people, Craven County has 43, and Lenoir County has 10 people on the waiting list.
If you would like to donate or volunteer, click here.