Raising awareness for the power of Meals on Wheels
Each year, Meals on Wheels® providers across Ontario participate in March for Meals®, an annual event to increase awareness and community engagement with local Meals on Wheels® providers across North America. The 2017 Community Champions Week will be celebrated between March 20th and March 24th. During this time, local Community Support agencies will invite local celebrities and other prominent community figures to deliver meals, speak out for seniors and people with disabilities and raise awareness for the power of Meals on Wheels®.
Access to well-balanced, affordable meals is imperative to the independence and sustenance of isolated seniors and individuals with disabilities. Research shows that healthy eating provides essential energy and nutrients for general welfare and maintenance of health and functional autonomy, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases at older ages.
The benefits of Meals on Wheels® are emotional and psychological, as well as physical. Sometimes, the friendly volunteer delivering the meal may be the only person a client interacts with in a given day. These dedicated volunteers perform a valuable security check for isolated clients, and can notify the agency office should someone fail to answer the door or it is obvious that an accident has occurred. The agency staff can follow up with their emergency contacts, and if necessary the proper response team in the case of accident or injury.
Most Community Support Services (CSS) offer both hot and frozen Meals on Wheels®, and Community Care for South Hastings (CCSH) is no exception. Hot meals are prepared on site for the Belleville area and in Deseronto they are prepared by a sister agency in Napanee. The supplier for our frozen meals is Apetito, the same company that supplies the products for another local for profit franchise. The only substantial difference is the price as CSS agencies offer a much lower cost to the client.
Anyone requiring Meals on Wheels® should be referred to the local CSS agency that serves their geographic area. The CSS agency will then make contact with the senior and will determine whether hot meals, frozen meals, or a combination of both will best serve the person’s needs. Hot meals include the reassurance factor outlined above. Frozen meals offer flexibility for those who are more active yet struggle with chronic diseases that cause them to have “good” and “bad” days. On a bad day a nutritionally balanced frozen meal is a much better option than tea and toast.
There are 137 not-for-profit organizations receiving government funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to provide Meals on Wheels® in Ontario. Government funding covers only part of the cost – the difference is made up by donations, fundraising, and/or client fees, which are kept as low as possible. Provincially, agencies like CCSH delivered 2,899,292 meals in 2015-2016, to over 38,800 Ontarians. CCSH delivered over 41,000 meals in our area alone.
The annual March for Meals campaign is a chance for local, not-forprofit Meals on Wheels® providers to celebrate their impact, and increase awareness of the availability and value of their meal programs in their community. Take this opportunity to learn more about your local provider, and to spread the word among family and friends. Now is also a great time to make a donation, or become one of our wonderful volunteers!
Call us at 613-969-0130 or 613396-6591 for more information. Let us help you or your loved one remain safe, healthy, and independent in their own home.
Information in this column is compiled by Shell-Lee WertExecutive Director of Community Care for South Hastings Inc., 470 Dundas Street East, Unit 63, Belleville, K8N 1G1. Please visit our website at www.ccsh.ca, check out our Facebook page, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 613-969-0130 or 613-396-6591 for information and assistance. Community Care is a proud United Way member agency. Funding in part from the South East Local Health Integration Network.