Morrisburg and Iroquois Meals on Wheels provider being absorbed by Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing

Janet Levere, executive director for Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing, welcomed the integration of Morrisburg and District’s Meals on Wheels service under the umbrella of services WNPHC provides. She is pictured here with Morrisburg kitchen staff Susan Donnelly and Ruth Doesburg and Glenn Becksted, chair of Home Support Services of Morrisburg and District. Doesburg held one of the meals ready for delivery to a local client, while Becksted held one of the original Meals on Wheels service dishes from 40 years ago, when the organization was formed. (The Leader/Comfort photo)

MORRISBURG – A service started almost 41 years ago in Iroquois and evolved into the Meals on Wheels program for Morrisburg and Iroquois, is voluntarily undergoing a significant change. But, if all goes according to plan, clients shouldn’t notice much of a difference.

The official supplier of Meals on Wheels within Morrisburg and Iroquois is an organization called Home Support Services of Morrisburg and District. Last year it celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Over the span of about a year, Glenn Becksted, the organization’s chairperson, and treasurer Bob Ruddock had been searching for ways to cut costs to allow them to continue to deliver affordable meals to area seniors.

The solution for them would be to find a way to share costs for things like audits, insurance and software with another similar organization.

For them, a natural partnership was with the Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing Corporation.

Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing has long been the provider of Meals on Wheels services for Williamsburg and rural areas north of Iroquois and Morrisburg.

“We’ve always worked together to ensure we are meeting the needs of our clients,” said Becksted.

In discussions with WNPHC, it was decided that pursuing a voluntary integration initiative would be the best option.

“I wanted to keep the Morrisburg kitchen, and they agreed,” said Becksted.

For Becksted, that meant that basically the change would be mostly on the administrative side, and that not much would change for the delivery volunteers or the clients.

Through this integration, WNPHC will absorb Morrisburg and District’s volunteers and responsiblity for serving its clients. Home Support Services of Morrisburg and District will be dissolved. The Local Health Integration Network approved the integration. It will take effect April 1, 2017.

“These kinds of integrations are never easy,” said LHIN board chair Jean-Pierre Boisclair. “We are always impressed when people come to us after finding a way among themselves to make it happen.”

“The transition has been going very smoothly,” said Janet Levere, executive director of WNPHC.

While it is bittersweet to see the dissolution of a 40-year-old organization, Becksted said it was necessary as being a volunteer organization, they simply didn’t have the resources, expertise and time to keep up with all the mandated requirements.

“I do have mixed feelings about the whole thing, but I will still carry on delivering meals. That’s what I love,” said Becksted. He will not miss all the administration that went along with the volunteer job. “What a load taken off,” he said.

The treasurer Bob Ruddock will join the WNPHC board.

Anyone interested in volunteering to deliver Meals on Wheels can contact volunteer coordinators Joyce Millard or Janeen Wagemans.

Anyone interested in receiving Meals on Wheels or learning more about the service can call the J.W. MacIntosh Seniors Support Centre at 535-2924.