Each year, Community Care Concepts delivers some 15,000 meals to seniors in the region through its Meals on Wheels program.
It’s quite an undertaking, with upwards of 55 volunteers providing hot or frozen meals each weekday.
Annually, CCC and community service groups across the country celebrate March on Meals month to help raise awareness about the vital program.
“The Meals on Wheels program is a hot, noon meal delivered by volunteers,” CCC Meals on Wheels coordinator Barb Speers said. “The meal itself consists of soup, salad, a hot entree and dessert. The cost is $6.75 and we can accommodate special diets such as diabetics, low-salt, gluten-free, as well as low-fat healthy diets, so whatever the needs of the clients are we certainly try to accommodate them. …The goal of the Meals on Wheels program is to keep our seniors healthy and in their homes as long as we can.”
Clients can receive meals five days a week or just once a week, depending on their needs or preference, Speers added.
In Wellesley Township, some 1,600 meals each year are provided by the Schmidtsville Restaurant. In Woolwich, more than 6,000 meals are made by the Village Manor.
But it’s not just about serving healthy, affordable food.
Meals on Wheels also has social benefits for the community.
“The program provides a safety check by having a volunteer in the home to check on the client and take a quick look around to make sure everything is okay,” Speers said. “For some of our seniors, the volunteer may be the only person they see in a day or a week. So it is an important program in that way, especially when family members might live a distance away and might not be able to check on mom or dad.”
That’s why Community Care Concepts added a lunch companion program last year, giving seniors the option of having company when they sit down to eat.
“We have a side program that goes hand in hand called the lunch date program and sometimes we have requests for somebody to come in and eat with one of our clients because eating is so social,” Speers said. “If you put a meal down in front of somebody who is on their own sometimes they will pick at it but they won’t really eat as well, in some cases. But if you put a person there across from them, also with a meal, it’s amazing the difference in how much they will eat.”
Over the last couple weeks, mayors from Woolwich, Wellesley and Wilmot townships got a chance to tag along with Meals on Wheels volunteers.
Wellesley Mayor Joe Nowak visited nine clients on March 16.
“I went out with Elayne Futher and her husband Bill,” Nowak said. “Elayne has been doing this for over five years now and she just seems to love it. … I think what impressed me the most was the enthusiasm that the volunteers like Elayne show for the program. Elayne seemed to have a very good relationship with the recipients and they all seemed to really look forward to her visit. It wasn’t so much about the food, although that is an important part of course, but the social aspect is so important.”