Are you curious to find out what our second quarter GIVE’R charity is all about? We sat down with a wonderful representative from Edmonton Meals on Wheels and gave us more insight on the organization, that may just surprise you! Keep on reading to find out more, Bikergang.
What is Edmonton Meals on Wheels all about?
Edmonton Meals on Wheels is a not-for-profit organization that relies on volunteer to provide nutritious meals and related programs which promote health, well-being, and independence for our clients. We produce, package, and deliver meals, along with groceries and even pet food, to homebound, and senior Edmontonians.
How did it come to be what it is today?
We are celebrating our 50th year in Edmonton this year! Meals on Wheels began as a compassionate idea, after members of the Victorian Order of Nurses noticed that senior and homebound Edmontonians were isolated and without access to healthy meals. They partnered with a local hospital, recruited some volunteers, and started serving this homebound demographic. The first route consisted of just three stops on the south side. Over the last five decades, we’ve grown to serve hundreds of clients each day. We’ve also expanded our programs and services over the years. We now offer Daily Meal deliveries, frozen meals deliveries, grocery deliveries, personal grocery shopping, and pet food delivery.
Who does your services cater to?
77% of our clients live alone, and 87% are over 60 years old. That being said, there are no age requirements to sign up for Meals on Wheels. There are clients who are my age (proud millennial over here!), however, they probably have a physical or mental disability that is preventing them from being 100% independent without help. Meals on Wheels can be a temporary solution (ex: someone has been discharged from the hospital and is recovering from surgery, or is on the wait list for a seniors home), or a permanent solution (ex: someone wanting to ‘age at home’). It’s really whatever the client needs!
What impact does Edmonton Meals on Wheels have on the community?
Edmonton Meals on Wheels is in place to help people stay healthy and independent at home. Having a healthy, homemade meal – or even groceries – delivered to your home is a really big deal if you’re someone who can’t safely cook or get to the grocery store (typically it’s health or mobility issues that prevent our clients from doing it for themselves). If you think about someone who can’t get to the grocery store, they probably aren’t getting out to do anything else. This isolation can create loneliness. While we know that the food delivery is important, it’s the social interaction between the client and the Volunteer Delivery Driver (100% of our Delivery Drivers are volunteers) that can be equally as important. In fact, this is what many of clients look forward to in their day. In some cases, the Delivery Driver may be the only person they see in a day. This check in also provides peace of mind for the family and friends of those we serve. Knowing that a caring individual is checking up on their loved one is reassuring.
What is an interesting fact that people may not know about the organization?
Ohhh I can give you lots of interesting facts!
We make an average of 763 meals in our kitchen each weekday.
We deliver meals on Christmas Day (in 2018, volunteers delivered 95 Xmas Day meals!)
While our clients pay for their meals, we haven’t raised the cost of our Daily Meals since 1995. On top of that, we have subsidized rates, which over 60% of our clients utilize. Part of the funds that are being raised by the YEG Cycle team, will be going towards supporting our subsidy program. This means that you’re helping our low-income clients – a very vulnerable population!
We have clients on service who are as old as 100!
How can others get involved and help?
We have a variety of volunteer roles available – Kitchen Helper, Meal Delivery Driver, as well as Personal Grocery Shoppers. As we rely so heavily on volunteers, we’re always looking to add to this team! https://mealsonwheelsedmonton.org/pages/volunteer
Also - donations are ALWAYS something we could use. Donations would be supporting one of three things: helping to fuel and maintain our delivery vans, helping to fund our programs and services – such as our subsidy program, helping to cover the cost of ingredients needed to make the meals.https://mealsonwheelsedmonton.org/pages/donate