Did you know that October is Community Support Month?

October 1, 2019

Community Support Services (CSS), like Meals on Wheels, support over one million Ontarians each year including seniors and adults with disabilities. They help clients live independently in their own homes and communities as long as possible, and reduce the burden on family caregivers and other parts of the health care system. As our population ages, Community Support Services will be even more important. Currently, this sector employs over 21,000 people and engages up to tens of thousands of volunteers in Ontario.

Meals on Wheels (Ottawa) has delivered almost 4.5 million meals since our doors opened in 1968. Last year, with the help of 428 volunteers who contributed 23,650 hours, we served 110,845 meals to 1,464 clients.

People like John and Mary Jane rely on hot and frozen meals delivered right to the door by caring volunteers.

Volunteers have been a great benefit by delivering meals on time and being friendly to me.  I am almost 92 years old and still living in my home.  I could not live here without their help. – John

This is the perfect time for a very special thank you to all the friendly faces that come to my mother’s door. We’ve been blessed with your kindness and concern. You go beyond just delivering the meals. It’s a peace of mind knowing that every day someone is there to make my mother’s day – a simple check in on her. It’s beyond words to thank you.- Mary Jane

Imagine if we put a dollar value on the time donated by our volunteers? At $15 per hour, our volunteers would have contributed $354,750.  But we also know that simply counting hours doesn’t show the full impact of volunteer work on communities. This number gives an incomplete picture of the value of volunteers…the passion and commitment of volunteers are truly priceless!  The value of all community support services, like Meals on Wheels, for the health and well-being of individuals and communities is also priceless.

As you may have heard, the new Ontario Government is focused on ending hallway health care and we all understand that home and community care plays a crucial role in getting people out of hospital and back into their community. Not-for-profit organizations like Meals on Wheels play a critical role in keeping people healthy and living independently at home not to mention freeing up space in hospital emergency rooms.

During this time of transformation and health care system change, the Meals on Wheels service and our volunteers are on the ground supporting people like John and Mary Jane’s mother to remain in their own homes and communities by providing affordable and nutritious home delivered hot and frozen meals.  Our partnership with the Going Home Program also helps us to ensure that people can stay in their own homes in the community after discharge from hospital. We work closely with other CSS providers including The Good Companions, a non-profit multi-service seniors’ centre, with whom we are co-located.

Community Support Month kicks off with Meals on Wheels Week from September 30th to October 4th.

This is a time to both celebrate the achievement of the volunteer-based service we provide as well as to increase public awareness of what community support services are and why they are an important part of the health care system.

This year, it is particularly important that we stress the importance of the not-for-profit model of Community Support Services provision and how we can assist in freeing up space in hospital emergency rooms.

Never underestimate the power of word of mouth! You can have a tremendous influence in helping us continue to provide our valuable service and to promote Community Support Month by:

  • Ensuring that people are aware of the many Community Support Services in Ottawa including Meals on Wheels.
  • Talking to your elected officials about the value of Meals on Wheels and other Community Support Services.
  • Helping to recruit new meal delivery volunteers by spreading the word to your networks, families, and friends.
  • Joining our team of Community Ambassadors who help at display tables and give presentations.
  • Inviting us to give a presentation to a group you belong to.
  • Helping to place posters (with permission) in public places and facilities such as universities bulletin boards, community centres, bookstores, and supermarkets.
  • Adding a link to our website and volunteer application to your email signature during Community Support Month. https://www.mealsonwheels-ottawa.org/volunteers/become-a-volunteer/
  • Considering making a donation to support our service. https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/9898
  • Sharing and promoting Community Support Month and Meals on Wheels Week on social media: use hashtags: #EndHallwayMedicine, #CSM2019, #investinCSS, #OHT, #mealsonwheelsweek2019 #mealsonwheels, #mowottawa, #morethanjustameal
  • Following us on social media and sharing our content.

Thank you for all that you do to help seniors and adults with disabilities to remain healthy and independent in their own homes!  We couldn’t do it without you!