KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A recent drop in donations has a local organization pleading for the public's help.
Mobile Meals delivers daily hot meals to hundreds of homebound seniors in Knoxville.
Because of that drop in funding, they've been forced to put nearly 100 of them onto a waiting list.
Every day, more than 900 mobile meals are cooked, packed up and delivered by volunteers to Knoxville seniors who are unable to leave their homes.
"All the people we deliver to, they enjoy getting their meals and say thank you," said volunteer Glenn Miller.
85-year-old Lena Rucker is one of those people.
Rucker has suffered two strokes and can't cook for herself, so her daily Mobile Meals delivery is the only hot meal she gets.
"It means a whole lot to me. I think it's a great idea, because I can't get out," said Rucker.
Mobile Meals like the ones Rucker receives are in jeopardy right now.
Of the 900 daily meals, only 350 are covered by government funding.
The rest have to be paid for by donations, which has sharply decreased in the past several months, at a time when demand has shot up.
"The number of folks over the age of 80, which is most of the people who get Mobile Meals, has grown by about 34%," said Susan Long, director of the Knoxville Office on Aging, which runs the program.
Because there simply isn't enough money to cover the cost, 96 seniors are now on a waiting list.
Without more donations coming in, they won't be getting any food, and the problem will only get more dire.
The waiting list is increasing by nearly 10 people each week.
That's why they're pleading with the community to help them with donations.
They're also looking for more volunteers to help deliver meals.
"We have people that deliver once a month. We'd love to have somebody willing to donate once a week. If you can find some time in the middle of the day, you'll get a lot from it," said Long.
In most cases, the volunteer is the only person these seniors will see all day.
"Means a whole lot. A whole lot," said Rucker.
If you'd like to help, either by donating money or volunteering, contact the Mobile Meals Department at the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee Office on Aging by calling 865-524-2786 or by visiting their website.