Meals on Wheels grows by 50 per cent locally

Sharon Ziebarth dishes up one of more than 120 servings of white fish and couscous delivered to South Dundas Meals on Wheels clients Monday. (The Leader/Comfort photo)

MORRISBURG – Uptake of the local Meals on Wheels program has grown by 50 per cent during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

People are really liking the convenience of the program which allows them to stay home and have nutritious meals delivered to their door-step three times a week.

Having only to shutdown service for a couple of weeks at the outset of the pandemic, the program quickly got back up and running with staff helping out with deliveries when volunteers couldn’t.

Now, the program is running much like it always has, but with no contact deliveries to people’s homes. Volunteers deliver up to 130 meals, including the day’s hot meal and frozen meals, regularly to clients across Williamsburg, Matilda, Morrisburg and Iroquois.

Cathy Tupper of J.W. MacIntosh Community Support Services Centre explained that in the past volunteers may have gone into people’s homes, now that is not the case.

The volunteers knock and leave the meals outside the home at a specified location, then stand back at a safe distance to ensure someone collects the delivery. Check-in conversations are had, at that safe distance, and then the volunteers move on to the next stop.

Those meals are all prepared in the J.W. MacIntosh Community Support Services Centre kitchen in Williamsburg.

Monday morning, kitchen staff – Tina Shepherd, Jo-Ann Hoftyzer and Sharon Ziebarth – were busy preparing and packing soups, vegetables, white fish and couscous. Since the pandemic began, the Morrisburg kitchen has been closed and the Meals on Wheels service has been consolidated at the Williamsburg Centre.

The local Meals on Wheels program operates with 50-60 volunteer delivery drivers. “I can’t say enough about our volunteers,” said Tupper. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

Tupper said that they are always looking for more Meals on Wheels volunteer delivery drivers and encourages anyone interested to contact the office ((613) 535–2924) to learn more about it.

Each year, Meals on Wheels providers across Ontario participate in March for Meals, an annual event to increase awareness. This year the awareness campaign runs from March 22 to March 26th.

Since you’re here…

… Thanks for reading this article. Local news is important. We hope that you continue to support local news by reading The Leader, online and in print. Please consider subscribing to the print edition of the newspaper. Click here to subscribe today.