Meals on Wheels has been delivering nutritious meals to home-bound seniors on the Vineyard for 43 years, but to keep the meals rolling out, volunteers are needed. And it’s a constant struggle to keep the roster full.

The program delivers a meal a day Monday through Friday to seniors over the age of 60 who are home bound. That translates to a need for eight volunteer drivers every day, five days a week. Drivers must be available from 10:30 a.m. to noon. There is a constant shift in who is available, as personal obligations often interrupt a volunteer schedule. With two drivers undergoing knee replacement surgeries this week, Meals on Wheels is once again scrambling to cover shifts.

Betty Burton answered a similar call for volunteers in 1994 when she first moved to the Island. After hearing about Meals on Wheels at a Neighborhood Convention meeting, she began driving.

“When you go into those homes, you realize how desperately they need it,” she said. “I found often I would go back and visit after I delivered all of my meals.”

Maria Canha organizes a delivery. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Though she no longer drives for Meals on Wheels, Ms. Burton is actively involved with the Vineyard Committee on Hunger, a nonprofit that supports Meals on Wheels.

Each meal costs $10 to make, and the program asks for a $2 donation, though no one is turned away. Volunteers can receive reimbursement for mileage, as they use their own vehicles for deliveries.

In the past five years, the number of meals Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands has served and delivered on the Vineyard has grown along with the number of clients served. Currently 135 home-bound people are receiving daily deliveries from Meals on Wheels; the number is higher in summer. The total number of meals delivered increased from 32,000 to 35,000 between 2014 and 2015, organizers said.

When no volunteers are available, Michele Dupon, the nutrition program director, steps in and drives routes.

“There is always a mini-crisis happening,” she said. “I drive two to three times a week.” Her favorite part is the connection made with the client. “You’re like a member of their family,” she said. “You remember their dog’s name, it’s like Sunday when you visit your family.”

One volunteer recently delivered roses along with the meals to the clients on his route.

Meals are prepared one day in advance in the cafeteria of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Director of food and nutrition, Chris Porterfield works with elder services to create a monthly menu. His team at the hospital arrives as early as 6 a.m. to make meals from scratch. In the past he has worked with Island Grown Initiative to procure locally-grown ingredients, such as purple potatoes last summer. “We refuse to use the state’s menu,” he said. “We’re serving people what they like.”

Popular meals include Yankee pot roast and ham and cheese on croissant. On the Fourth of July there are often lobster rolls.

“On the mainland, you’ll never see that,” Mr. Porterfield said.

Meals used to be delivered hot to clients at midday, but now they are delivered cold with heating instructions.

The same meals that go to home-bound seniors arrive at the Tisbury senior center five days a week as a part of its senior dining program, a social event. On a recent day Nicole Ferguson from elder services and Connie Teixeira served up steaming ricotta-stuffed shells and green beans to a small group of seniors.

“We like to make everybody feel at home, make everybody feel special, and they do the same for me, they make me feel special too,” Ms. Ferguson said. She has been working senior dining for eight years and has become friends with the regulars, seasonal and year-round. She knows who will drown their potatoes in gravy and who prefers them dry. Any feedback from the participants, she includes in her notes that make their way back to the menu makers.

“It’s a good bunch,” she said. Ms. Ferguson shares her photography with the lunchers, and in turn they share good spots to catch on camera. Mrs. Teixeira, a longtime volunteer, said the lunch program at the senior center exposes participates to other events that are going on as well.

“I think it allows the seniors to have twofers,” she said. “It allows seniors who probably wouldn’t eat as much to have a nutritious meal, and good conversation.”

At the table, the lunchers chatted and laughed together. Ms. Ferguson said she would like to see more people come by for a bite. Sitting next to his wife, Tony Teixeira dug into his lunch.

“We’re here on a stormy day,” he said. “So we must think something of [the food].”