Almost overnight, the pandemic forced everyone to change how we go about our daily lives. It’s made us pivot how we do many things from interacting with each other, running errands, to spending our time at home. We’re all experiencing the pandemic differently and we’re coping and managing in our own ways, as best we can.
For some, the pandemic has also given them time to reflect on how fortunate they are when businesses and schools started shutting down. Many individuals and families in this situation turned to volunteering as their way to give back during these uncertain times.
“When the pandemic was declared and work and school moved to our home, it really reinforced how fortunate we are as a family to have the ability to keep going while so many people around us are suffering,” says Corrina, who, along with her husband, Jeff, and two children, Jeffrey and Linnae, joined the Meals on Wheels volunteer team in April. She adds that she feels, “Incredibly fortunate to be healthy and able to do meaningful work from home during the pandemic and that it is important to share that privilege with others in need.”
The family is active in their community and is involved in many extra-curricular activities. When they were looking for an opportunity to volunteer together during the pandemic, Meals on Wheels ended up being a good fit. Every Friday in the summer, the family delivered meals in various neighbourhoods including Sandy Hill, Lowertown and the Glebe. Jeff would usually drive while Linnae navigated, and the kids would take turns delivering meals to clients’ doors with Corrina.
“We like volunteering together and bringing people an essential item. And hopefully our presence brings cheer to someone who might otherwise be alone,” Corrina explains.
“It’s a small gesture that can have a very large and very meaningful impact on another person,” Jeffrey adds.
For dad and daughter duo, Ian and Carolyn, the pandemic made them both, “think about people in our city who need extra assistance more frequently,” Carolyn explains. “Our lives were minorly inconvenienced by COVID, and were thinking about what we could do to assist those who may need help.”
While they have each done volunteer work in the past, Meals on Wheels was their first time volunteering as a team. “It seemed like a good father–daughter bonding exercise where we could learn from each other.”
During the summer, Ian and Carolyn delivered meals every Friday, mostly in the Alta Vista neighbourhood. Carolyn would drive and they would take turns running the meals to clients’ doors. Volunteering allowed them to discover parts of the city they would rarely visit and meet different people who reside there.
“I think the biggest thing both of us have been reminded of from volunteering with Meals on Wheels is that everyone is deserving of kindness and respect, and that some people may just need a little bit of extra assistance,” Carolyn says. “Those of us who can help should! A small delivery and a kind hello can go a long way in improving someone’s day.”
Since the start of the school year, Carolyn, Linnae and Jeffrey have all returned to school, but their parents have continued to volunteer on a regular basis.
The Meals on Wheels service relies heavily on the generosity of volunteers. We are very grateful to those who are able to make the time to give back to their community by volunteering in this time of uncertainty.