Benevilla has begun volunteer training for its home-delivered meals program for Surprise residents, with the intention of beginning the effort next month.
Jane Bruzzese, senior director of programs at Benevilla, said she has a list of least 19 people who signed up to volunteer as delivery drivers, known as “friendly food couriers.” They will do a few test runs for some clients before the program fully launches.
“We’re very excited about getting started because we know this is going to help so many people out in the long run that can’t prepare their own meals,” Bruzzese said.
Bruzzese said she expects to have a total 21 volunteers, including two service coordinators. Many of the volunteers signed up for Meals on Wheels already are giving their free time with some of Benevilla’s other programs.
She plans to add more volunteers as the program grows.
“The rest of our recruitment for our volunteers will be gauged on the demand and availability of this particular program,” Bruzzese said.
Because of the lack of transportation and unserved location, Benevilla chose to start the home-delivered meals program for Surprise residents.
Benevilla received a $50,000 grant from the BHHS Legacy Foundation for the program’s start up, which will be an extension of the meals already provided the organization’s adult day centers in Peoria, Sun City and Surprise.
Surprise Senior Center also receives meals from Benevilla.
Claudia Olson, home-delivered meals coordinator for Benevilla, said participants can choose between a three-meal, five-meal or seven-meal option. All of the meals will be delivered at midday, with most delivered frozen but easily reheated.
“There isn’t anything available in this area and many people are getting older, and this program will help so much,” said Olson. “These meals are perfect for those in transition who can’t cook themselves a well-balanced meal at least once a day.”