Volunteer FAQs

Please refer to the follow FAQs to assist with meal deliveries and Wellness Calls and to help you answer common client questions.

Volunteering With MOWD

Signing up is easy. Fill out the application and you'll be able to reserve a shift in no time.

Meals on Wheels Durham uses a program called Scheduler as its volunteer scheduling platform. On the platform individuals can fill out a volunteer application, view, and reserve upcoming volunteer shifts.

To navigate to Scheduler, visit https://durham.mowscheduler.com/

Step One

Fill out the Volunteer Application

Once the application is submitted, you will receive two confirmation emails: 

  1. "Welcome to Scheduler" and
  2. "Welcome to MOWscheduler"

These emails will provide more information on how to create a login, how to navigate Scheduler, and how to sign up for shifts.

If you are an NCCU or Duke student, or Activate Good member, please apply through your school's or organization's portal.

Step Two

Create a Scheduler login using the information provided in the confirmation emails.

Step Three

Once logged in, you are able to register for a volunteer shift.

For more information or assistance on how to sign up to volunteer, visit Scheduler's support site at https://support.mowscheduler.com/

All of our upcoming volunteer opportunities are displayed on the "Help Wanted" webpage in Scheduler. This public, no-log-in-required webpage allows individuals to view and sign up for upcoming shifts.

  1. Navigate to "Help Wanted" webpage the to view the weekly scheduling calendar.
  2. Click the "+" next to each job title to view open shifts on each day.
  3. Click the "i" to view details for the position and to sign up for that shift.
  4. Once selected, a pop-up window will explain the role in detail and prompt you to sign in, if you haven't already, to reserve the shift.

For more information or assistance on how to sign up to volunteer, visit MOWScheduler's support site at https://support.mowscheduler.com/.

View Upcoming Shifts


Meals on Wheels Durham offers a variety of volunteer opportunities Monday through Friday that make lasting impacts on older adults in the community. You can delivers meals— and smiles—to clients each weekday, help pack and load meals onto delivery vehicles, or even check in on seniors in the comfort of your own home. We have something for everybody!

Click here to view MOWD's list of volunteer opportunities.

Are you a group or organization that would like to volunteer at MOWD? Your group can deliver meals to our clients as a one-time event or take turns driving regularly on a weekly or monthly basis. Contact our Volunteer Services Coordinator or complete our volunteer application if you are interested

Common Client Questions & Answers

Below are a few topics that are important to review to help volunteers answer frequently asked questions and requests made by clients.

Client Question

Can the delivery volunteer leave my meals on my porch or by my front door, I won't be home during the delivery window?

Volunteer Answer

Unfortunately, we cannot leave meals unattended due to social services requirements and safety rules. If you will not be home during our delivery window (9:30 am to 1 pm), please call the Meals on Wheels Durham office or let me know to notify staff so we can possibly schedule an alternate delivery day.

Due to funding-related requirements from the Department of Health and Social Services, as well as food safety compliance, we cannot leave meals unattended or with neighbors. Meals can only be given to a Meals on Wheels Durham client or their care provider. If a client is not home, all frozen and hot meals need to be brought back to the office.

Client Question

I don't like milk, can the volunteer take that out?

Volunteer Answer

Unfortunately, we cannot remove menu items unless you have a food allergy indicated from a doctor's note. All meals meet proper nutritional requirements for older adults.

As much as we appreciate our client’s individual preferences, we cannot make any changes to the quantity of food on the menu. We also cannot remove or add on single items because of a disliked menu item. Unless a client has provided a doctor’s note indicating an allergy, milk and other items cannot be removed from meal deliveries.

Client Question

I am lactose intolerant. Can you make sure I have dairy-free meals?

Volunteer Answer

Yes, we can accommodate your allergy. Please have your doctor mail, fax, or drop off a doctor's note indicating your allergy to the Meals on Wheels Durham office.

If a client has a food allergy, Meals on Wheels Durham requires a doctor’s note verifying the food allergy. The doctor’s note can be faxed, mailed, or brought into the office. Once the note is received by MOWD, we will provide a substitute meal and/or ingredient.

Client Question

Can I get Ensure/Glucerna along with my meals each week?

Volunteer Answer

Yes, please have your doctor mail, fax, or drop off a doctor's note to the Meals on Wheels Durham office indicating your approval of receiving Ensure/Glucerna without any medical concerns.

Meals on Wheels Durham provides a week supply of nutritional shakes (Ensure or Glucerna) to clients who provide a doctor’s note that verifies the client can have Ensure/Glucerna without any medical concerns. The doctor’s note can be faxed, mailed, or brought into our office. Seven drinks are offered per week at no extra cost. 

Client Question

Can the volunteer drop off my meals off after 11 am?

Volunteer Answer

Meals on Wheels Durham delivers meals Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Due to the number of clients we deliver to daily, we are unable to accommodate specific time arrangement for delivery. We ask that you make sure you are home between 9:30 am and 1 pm to receive your meals. If you will not be home, please contact the office a 919-667-9424 or let me know so that I can make a note to the MOWD staff.

Unfortunately, we are unable to deliver meals outside our delivery window or make accommodations to specific time requests. With over 600 clients and over 50 volunteers delivering meals, it is difficult to make specific time arrangements.

We ask that clients be home to receive their meals between 9:30 am to 1:00 pm on their delivery day.

If a client cannot be home during this delivery window, the client should cancel for that day or ask if it is possible to reschedule. We generally offer a Tuesday delivery instead of Monday for all frozen meal clients if they have a doctor’s appointment on Monday.

Client Question

Can I pause my meal service for over a month?

Volunteer Answer

Unfortunately, we can only hold your meals for a maximum of 30 days. After 30 days, your meals will be eligible for termination. Please call the office and speak to our Client Services Coordinator.

A client can place their meals on hold, or not receive meals, for a maximum of 30 days. After 30 days, the client will need to resume meals or meals will be eligible for termination. Clients must contact the office or notify their Wellness Caller of Delivery Driver to place meals on hold.

Special Instructions for Meal Delivery

  • Address each client using their name. 
  • Show genuine interest in each client, and be a good listener.
  • Speak clearly and audibly, as many clients are hard of hearing.
  • Be optimistic and confident.
  • Do not direct the conversation towards a client's illness or disability.
  • Please refrain from using your own money to meet a client's needs.
  • Make sure to double check the Mobile Meals App to ensure you have every meal delivery item for each client
  • Smile—you may be the only person a client sees that day.

Call, Knock, Wait Icons from Delivery Instruction


Call your client before you deliver each meal. Many of our clients are hard of hearing and may not hear your knock, or they may need some time to get ready for your arrival. If a client doesn't answer the phone, leave a message.


When you arrive at each client's residence, knock loudly and announce you are with Meals on Wheels Durham.

Pro Tip: Use a golf ball to knock on doors — we have plenty available at the office.


Wait at least 2-3 minutes for the client to reach the door. If your client doesn't answer the door in that time, please leave a hang tag on their door to indicate an attempted delivery. Hang tags are available at the office.


If a client doesn't come to the door please leave a message in the comments on the Mobile Meals App and click "Not Delivered". Often, we receive calls from clients stating they were home all day and did not get a delivery—the more information we have the better! 

Due to funding-related requirements from the Department of Health and Social Services, as well as food safety compliance, we cannot leave meals unattended or with neighbors. Meals can only be given to a Meals on Wheels Durham client or to their care provider. If a client is not home, please do the following:

  1. Complete the "Call, Knock, Wait" instructions
  2. Leave a hangtag on the doorknob of any client that is not home. This is our only confirmation that we attempted to deliver their meals.
    1. Hangtags are available at the MOWD office. Please ask a staff member or volunteer for one.
  3. On the Mobile Meals App, check "not delivered", select the No Service reason, and leave a detailed note in the app. 

The comments you provide in the app helps staff understand the circumstance, so please give as much information as possible.

Medical Emergencies

If you are delivering meals and feel that a client is unsafe for any reason, please call Durham's Non-Emergency Number at (919) 560-4600 so authorities can conduct a wellness check. If your client is in imminent danger or needs immediate medical attention (e.g., has fallen, has sustained an injury) call 9-1-1. We request that you do not touch or move a client to prevent any harm or further injury, and that you notify our Volunteer Services Coordinator as soon as possible.

For any other questionable situations that you might experience while delivering to clients, please make a note in the Mobile Meals App or contact our office at 919-667-9424.

Handling Unusual Situations

If you notice anything unusual on the route or a change in the condition of a client, please inform the Meals on Wheels Durham office of anything unusual on the route such as incorrect directions, or if you have observed a change in the condition of the client. Meals on Wheels Durham always follows up on these reports.

If you encounter an unsafe situation on the route you are delivering, do not deliver the meal. You are to use your discretion and judgment to determine for yourself if you feel unsafe. Please notify the Volunteer Service Coordinator if such a situation occurs.

Furthermore, if at any time during your service with the Meals on Wheels Durham program a situation arises where you are unsure of the appropriate course of action, please call the Meals on Wheels Durham office at 919-667-9424.

Wellness Call Details

Our Wellness Call Program arose from the need to continue weekly social interactions with clients throughout the pandemic. Around two-thirds of clients felt less lonely because of the calls and clients reported feeling more connected, happier, less isolated, and safer.

Wellness Calls are conducted remotely on Wednesday and Friday. Volunteers are required to have a working phone and access to the internet to view the Wellness Sheet.

The morning of every shift, volunteers will receive an email with Wellness Call instructions, important information, and the link to access the Wellness Sheet. 

Click here to view the step-by-step guide to making Wellness Calls.

Call Instructions

  1. Make sure to call all clients between 9 am and noon
  2. Read over the Wellness Call shift email and note the questions to ask and information to communicate to each client.
  3. Open the Wellness Sheet and use the bottom tabs to navigate to your route(s).
  4. Once you see your route list, call the first number on the list and introduce yourself as a Meals on Wheels Durham Volunteer.
  5. Explain that you are calling to check in on them and to confirm they will be home to receive their meals next week. Use the questions at the top of the Wellness Sheet to help guide your conversation.
  6. Use the drop down menu on each cell to record client responses.
  7. Continue the conversation and when you hang up, move to the next client on your list until you have called every client on the route. Always refer back to the shift email for assistance.

Please double-check Scheduler to confirm which route(s) you're assigned to for Wellness Calls.

View Your Assigned Route on Scheduler


The link to view the Wellness Call Sheet will be included in an email sent to you the morning of your Wednesday or Friday volunteer shift.