SKOWHEGAN — Spectrum Generations’ Meals on Wheels program needs a few good people to make food deliveries twice weekly to homebound seniors.

The pay isn’t great — 40 cents per mile –says volunteer driver Richard Zazulia, of Madison, but the benefits are countless.

“It’s a very rewarding job, helping people,” Zazulia said preparing for a delivery from the Somerset County office in Skowhegan. “They’re very appreciative of what we do for them.”

Ryan Poirier, the agency’s regional nutrition and facility coordinator, based at the Muskie Center in Waterville, said the dwindling number of drivers is endangering the food deliveries.

Meals on Wheels serves about 360 people in northern Kennebec, Waldo and Somerset counties, with about 90 of themserved out of the Skowhegan office. Deliveries of warm and frozen meals are made on Tuesdays and Thursdays with enough food to last five days. Routes also are delivered as far north as Bingham and Jackman.

“In the Skowhegan area alone, I have five different routes and I only have four drivers doing them,” Poirier said. “I’d like to have at least 10 for backup. Myself and my staff person, Beth Strickland, we’re the backups right now.”

“These guys are out here every Tuesday and Thursday. Snow, rain, sleet or shine, it doesn’t matter.”

Poirier said most of the routes take a couple of hours to complete, but the route to North Anson and Embden, then down to Madison and Norridgewock, takes more time.

“If we had more drivers, I could break that up so it wouldn’t be so much — we’re doing almost 90 miles for just that one route,” he said.

Poirier said the program is more than a hot meal and a visit twice a week. There have been occasions when a driver will find a person who had fallen and been on the floor for several hours, he said.

He said there is some state funding for Meals on Wheels, but most of the annual budget comes from grants, donations and fundraisers, including a golf tournament, an ice fishing derby and a pig roast in the summer.

Jen Bradley, a direct support professional at Skills Inc. in Pittsfield, an agency for people with developmental disabilities, said she takes one of her clients on a Meals on Wheels volunteer route every Thursday. She said the program is important to her clients and to the people getting the visits.

“It’s fun. It’s nice to see the people, and get to talk to them,” Bradley said. “They’re excited to see you; some of them don’t see people very much.”

Lorraine Heald, 84, of Skowhegan said she has received meals for about two years. She said she’d like to see more fresh salads on the menu, but otherwise appreciates the service.

“They have things I like; they have meat and things like that, they have ham,” she said during a delivery on Thursday. “It helps a lot.”

For Clifford Groder Sr., 84, of Skowhegan, Meals on Wheels is a life saver. He’s been on the program for three years, he said.

“I’ll tell, you Meals on Wheels is handy for a guy who can’t get around the cook stove,” he said. “I have a girl that helps me out and she comes at night and puts them on a plate and wraps them in tin foil and I heat ’em up.”

To volunteer for Meals on Wheels in Somerset County, call Beth Strickland at 474-8552 or visit

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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