What's up Local Laundry fam! We hope everyone had an amazing weekend and are ready for a new week. Speaking of new, we have a new blog tonight from our pals over at Calgary Meals on Wheels! Calgary Meals on Wheels promotes health & independence by providing quality, nutritious & affordable meals to Calgarians in need of our services. Tonight, Calgary Meals on Wheels talks with us about its program, the benefits and some fun facts you might not know! Read and enjoy :)
Hey Calgary, my name is Chris and I’m the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Calgary Meals on Wheels. We are excited to be providing the guest blog for Local Laundry this week. We’ve got a lot in common, Local Laundry and Calgary Meals on Wheels are both focused on growing stronger Calgary communities.
Calgary Meals on Wheels is known primarily for one thing, delivering meals to Calgarians; it’s literally in our name. To be fair, we’ve been delivering locally made meals to the homes of Calgarians since 1965, we should be known for that. What many don’t know is how important it is for us to provide nutritious, quality meals to Calgarians. We have a Registered Dietitian and a Blue Seal Chef on staff to ensure every meal is balanced.
Even though we produce over 1,850 meals per day, we are more than the food we serve, it’s about the community we are building together.
Home Meal Delivery – More Than a Meal
On a typical day, we serve on average 730 Calgarians through our Home Meal Delivery Program. This program serves a unique audience of those who often cannot benefit from other available (short-term) food resources, as many cannot leave their homes or prepare food. The physical obstacles that limit their ability to shop for food, prep meals, or eat within their dietary needs are often combined with financial and social challenges, further reducing their ability to meet nutritional needs without support. The result, is vulnerability to hunger and undernutrition. Our prepared and delivered meals provides a solution to the barriers that prevent many Calgarians from achieving proper nutrition and enables them to maintain healthy and independent lives.
While we don’t exclusively deliver to seniors, about 80% are over the age of 65 and 57% live alone. Seniors face higher risks of social isolation, especially if living alone. The daily interaction with our friendly volunteers provides an essential community connection, responding to the issue of social isolation, loneliness, and depression amongst seniors. Similarly, 71% of our volunteers are retirees looking to contribute and build community connections. The relationship between volunteers and clients is mutually beneficial and helps build a stronger and caring Calgary.
“My Mom Rose, is a client with the Meals on Wheels program receiving daily week day lunch and dinner meals. It was her 80th birthday yesterday and she received a basket of care items along with a homemade birthday card from a school child. It brightened up her day! She has also received flowers in the past from the program. My family wants to extend our many thanks on behalf of our Mom for these thoughtful gifts. Your program is more than a Meals program, but also one of great thoughtfulness and caring to bring some cheer to peoples’ days! Please pass our thanks to all that participate in these "extras'!”
While our staff drivers generally have to deliver all over our city, our volunteers who deliver get a chance to work the same route fairly consistently. Our volunteers form a bond with their clients. We’ve had volunteers go the extra mile for clients regularly, from helping to get things off of a high shelf to calling an ambulance for our clients when they’ve fallen down.
Just ask our volunteer Mike R. who says, “When you have the same route every day you become friends with many of the clients and you get to know their habits and routines which provides them with another layer of security.”
I can attest to this, as an employee of Calgary Meals on Wheels, I get the privilege of going out on route to deliver meals every couple of months. While I don’t deliver that regularly, I’ve been fortunate enough to have the same route whenever I go out. I’m able to talk with and get to know the people on the route. Giving someone that extra five minutes to talk about what is new since you’ve last seen them lets them get some weight off their shoulders; such as share how proud they are of a grandkid who scored three goals during their last hockey game. I always finish my deliveries in a good mood, with a smile on my face and I hope that I made someone’s day better too.
Back to School
Collaborative community partnerships enables Calgary Meals on Wheels to help feed students at more than 130 schools in Calgary.
Since 2000 we have been delivering our Hot Soup Program to schools throughout Calgary. This program began to offer nutritious food to elementary schools who noticed many of their students were going hungry during lunch time. We provide delicious, kid friendly soups (with a bun or cracker) to schools every Tuesday and Thursday. In the last couple of years, the Hot Soup Program has grown substantially, we added 5 schools in the last year alone.
“I would be really excited to say thank you.” – Charles, Grade 6 student at Piitoayis Family School. Piitoayis Family School receives meals from the Hot Soup Program and Future Ready program.
On top of our Hot Soup Program, we began a partnership with the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District in 2016 to provide meals, either breakfast or lunch (the school’s choice) to 5 schools in Calgary.
Calgary Meals on Wheels wouldn’t be where we are today without the kind support from our community. Without your support we wouldn’t be able to deliver the thousands of meals to Calgarians or raise the funds needed. If you would like to get involved please visit our website at mealsonwheels.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
Back to Kathleen here! New in next Monday to see who we have on the blog next! If you are someone you know would like to be a guest blogger on our blog drop us a line! Chat at chaaa next week Calgary - stay local!