Lifestyles

Volunteers get cooking

Anne and Colin Jones pack food trays into their car before doing their route for Meals On Wheels. They have been volunteering with Meals On Wheels for more than five years.  - Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
Anne and Colin Jones pack food trays into their car before doing their route for Meals On Wheels. They have been volunteering with Meals On Wheels for more than five years.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

Accessing groceries or cooked meals can be challenging at the best of times, and for seniors, those challenges could translate into serious health problems.

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services group of volunteers recognizes this and is doing whatever it can to get food to this community’s elderly.

Whether it’s through its Meals On Wheels program, their Community Meal Delivery program or the grocery part of their Better At Home program, community services is working to get good food to North Fraser seniors.

Community services program director Joanne Leginus says Meals On Wheels and Community Meal Delivery are similar programs.

Meals on Wheels delivers hot, nutritious meals, prepared by the Ridge Meadows Senior Centre, to qualified individuals, five days per week.

“We’ve worked with the Ridge Meadows Seniors Centre and the meals are prepared there, by their staff,” Leginus explains, adding meals can be altered to specific needs as for a diabetic, or someone with a food allergy. “We deliver a hot meal to seniors from Monday to Friday, delivered anywhere from 11:30 and 1 p.m. “

But Leginus says the meal delivery serves other purposes as well.

“A lot of the seniors that we deliver meals to live alone and, for some of them, our volunteers are the only contact they have,” she says.

So while the program is about delivering meals, it also provides social contact and a safety check.

“Often times, family members who don’t live in our community phone us to arrange for mom or dad who are on their own and they’re worried about them because they’re not eating,” Leginus explains. “And they don’t have contact with others but they want to be in their homes. So it’s a way for them to support their parents by bringing services in.”

Meal deliveries are 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. No deliveries are made on weekends or holidays, but extra meals can be provided for those times.

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows seniors who, for health reasons cannot prepare meals, qualify for the service, but must be able to pay $6.50 per meal.

But that’s not the only way the community services helps get food to local seniors.

“We also do transportation for grocery shopping. In most cases we encourage and want the seniors to come with the volunteers,” says Leginus, who oversees the program. “But in those cases where they’re unable, we will shop for them.”

The service is available to seniors with health or mobility reasons, but there will be a $2 delivery charge added to the cost of the groceries.

Seniors who need help with groceries can call the agency’s grocery delivery service at 604-882-7877 Thursday to Monday and leave their name and phone number to order grocery delivery. Customers are called on Tuesday to have their order taken down. Groceries orders are filled on Wednesday and delivered as soon as possible. For more information on any of these programs, go online to www.comservice.bc.ca/programs-services/senior-services.

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