CAB’s ‘Com­fort’ food de­liv­ered with a smile

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier Stanstead

Stanstead’s

vol­un­teer cen­tre, the CAB RH Rediker, de­liv­ers well over 6000 hot meals each year with their Meals on Wheels ser­vice. This is an im­pres­sive num­ber of meals on its own, but af­ter de­liv­er­ing twenty-eight of those meals last Thurs­day with vol­un­teer Linda Durocher, that num­ber has taken on a new mean­ing.

Af­ter pack­ing up Linda’s van with sev­eral cool­ers of hot soup, spaghetti and sauce, and desserts, which had just been freshly pre­pared by the CAB’s cooks, Jovette Hig­gins, Denise Bernier and Stephanie Ma­heu, along with a few frozen meals, we headed off. “We de­liver to the far­thest homes first then make our way back,” said Linda as we headed to Og­den. Leav­ing the cen­tre at 10:50, it took us 35 min­utes just to de­liver the first two meals, and an­oth- er half an hour to de­liver three more! The roads were slip­pery, bumpy, some­times steep and nar­row, and Linda’s ex­pe­ri­ence de­liv­er­ing mail in the re­gion for many years came in handy. Once we got back to Stanstead, the de­liv­er­ies were fast and fu­ri­ous as we tried to get the meals to their des­ti­na­tions as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Irene Thom­son, in her nineties, was look­ing for­ward to her lunch when I ar­rived with it. “The meals are de­li­cious. I wouldn’t be able to stay at home if I didn’t have this ser­vice,” she said.

Be­cause it was Meals on Wheels Week last week, the Meals on Wheels clients had their meals brought to them by a ‘guest’ de­liv­erer each day. Am­bu­lance tech­ni­cian Justin Dewey de­liv­ered 23 meals with vol­un­teer driver Wil­liam Com­stock on Mon­day.

“It was amaz­ing to see how far they go to de­liver meals. It’s a pretty good ser­vice and we’re very for­tu­nate to have peo­ple that vol­un­teer like that. And it was fun to see how happy and ap­pre­cia­tive peo­ple are; some had their ta­bles all set and ready to eat,” com­mented Justin, adding: “It was an ex­pe­ri­ence that I’d like to re­peat.”

Stanstead mayor Philippe Du­til en­joyed his ex­pe­ri­ence de­liv­er­ing 30 meals on Tues­day with Linda Durocher. “You don’t have too much time to talk but the peo­ple are very happy to see you. A few didn’t rec­og­nize me with­out the beard,” said the mayor.

Stanstead’s new Fire Chief James Runci­man sur­prised many clients when he ar­rived, in uni­form, bear­ing the hot meals on Wed­nes­day. “The peo­ple were happy to meet the new Fire Chief but we didn’t have a lot of time to talk. I also pre­sented the clients with flow­ers since it was Meals on Wheels week, but I had to tell them that they weren’t from me or my wife would be jeal­ous,” joked the Fire Chief. “It’s good to see that vol­un­teers get out and do that for the pub­lic, good to see that it’s avail­able; it was im­pres­sive. I would vol­un­teer to do that again.”

“Meals on Wheels is a nice ser­vice that is ap­pre­ci­ated and nec­es­sary and we’re happy to be there for that. It’s not just about the food, but also the con­tact with oth­ers, both on the phone when they call us and the con­tact with the vol­un­teers,” com­mented My­lene LaBonté, the di­rec­tor of the vol­un­teer cen­tre. “Our ter­ri­tory is very large but we try to ac­com­mo­date ev­ery­one. On Mon­days only, Lynn Wood de­liv­ers hot meals and frozen meals in Ayer’s Cliff be­fore her fit­ness class there.”

The CAB RH Rediker needs more driv­ers for the Meals on Wheels pro­gram, par­tic­u­larly since re­quests for the ser­vice are in­creas­ing. “We ac­tu­ally have two groups of vol­un­teers: those who leave the area for the win­ter and the golfers who leave to play golf in the warm weather, so March is al­ways a hard month. We’re al­ways look­ing for vol­un­teers to al­le­vi­ate the load,” said Ms. LaBonté.

The Meals on Wheels pro­gram pro­vides hot and frozen meals to se­niors 60 years of age or older, the phys­i­cally im­paired, some­one suf­fer­ing from an ill­ness or con­va­lesc­ing, and moth­ers with new ba­bies. They are de­liv­ered four days a week, Mon­day through Thurs­day, and as of next month, the price is go­ing from $4 to $5 a meal. “We haven’t had a price hike in ten years,” men­tioned the di­rec­tor. For more in­for­ma­tion about vol­un­teer­ing or re­ceiv­ing the meals at your door, call the CAB at 819 8767748.

photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Mar­garet Houle, at left, re­ceived a car­na­tion from vol­un­teer driver Linda Durocher dur­ing Meals on Wheels Week.

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