|Published:||May 20, 2010 11:32 PM EDT|
|Updated:||May 20, 2010 11:34 PM EDT|
FORT MYERS, FL- Thousands of seasonal residents are headed north for the summer and that could mean big problems for a program that feeds the homebound.
Volunteer Meals on Wheels driver John Meyer packs up his car with food early in the morning.
"Right now I'm just looking at the count, I get thirty one meals."
Meyer is retired and has been driving his Fort Myers route once a week, for three years.
He says, "That's going to maybe be their only meal of the day."
Maria Reyes looks forward to his visits.
She says, "It helps me out quite a bit because I'm in a wheelchair."
These days, much of that help is leaving town.
Director John Mayhugh says, "We lose about 30-40 percent of our volunteer base when they go back up".
That's in Lee County. To compound the problem: demand is skyrocketing. 3,000 more meals are served every month than just two years ago. Mayhugh says this is a serious problem.
"We're having drivers doing double shifts, we're having instances where we can't deliver meals, we're having instances where we need to double up on certain days."
It's not just the meals, he's afraid, clients will lose out on.
Reyes says, "I don't get many visitors at all."
Sometimes a driver is the only person who visits and why Meyer will be delivering meals for years to come.
He says, "There are times in my life when I've been alone, and I know it's not a very pleasant thing."