San Antonio organizations feeling impact of low volunteerism

Meals on Wheels in need of volunteers

SAN ANTONIO – Volunteerism across the country is on a steady decline and a recent survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and AmeriCorps shows the largest decrease seen since 2002.

The lack of volunteers largely impacts organizations, including those in San Antonio, that depend heavily on the contributions of helping hands.

Meals On Wheels serves the Alamo City’s most vulnerable senior population by delivering meals to those in need in the comfort of their own home. But now there’s one problem.

Vinsen Faris, executive director of the nonprofit, said one of Meals On Wheels biggest challenges at the moment has been the shortage of volunteers to help deliver meals throughout San Antonio and Bexar County.

According to the survey, despite the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the country continued to serve in their communities. But since then, Faris said the number of people volunteering has dropped.

“So many of our volunteers from then have not come back because they’re not working the schedules that they used to work. So, our corporate volunteer teams are shorter than what they were,” Faris said.

Faris said while the number of volunteers is low, the number of people they are serving has significantly increased.

Meals On Wheels is now relying heavily on the help of individual volunteers to deliver meals. Those having to step up now are the nonprofit’s staff, who help with deliveries outside of their primary duties.

“It’s a little bit of a challenge to them, and that’s a little more stress than what they would like, but they have all come through in flying colors,” Faris said.

Faris said volunteering does not have to be long-term commitment. For instance, he said a person can volunteer for a day, a week, or a month. He adds, anytime spent helping will be time making a positive impact on someone’s life.

“If you can help us out one day a month, that is one day a month you get to change someone’s life. They’re going to know they’re not forgotten, and I promise it will make a difference in your life,” Faris said.

For more information on how to volunteer, click here.

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About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.