Rais­ing aware­ness for the power of Meals on Wheels

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - NEWS - SHELL-LEE WERT SE­NIOR SCENE

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 shell-leew@ccsh.ca, 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.

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