October is Community Support Month and it is an opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness about the value of community support services, such as Meals on Wheels /La Popote roulante (Ottawa). Community support services play a critical role in helping individuals live independently in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. They are an integral part of the healthcare system and also help reduce the burden on family caregivers.
Since the start of the pandemic, many seniors and adults with disabilities who live alone have become even more isolated and homebound. They have been told to stay home to stay healthy and safe. Meals on Wheels has helped hundreds of clients to stay healthy and safe by providing nutritious meals during this unprecedented pandemic time.
“I don’t have to go grocery shopping as much anymore. Meals on Wheels ensures I have a decent meal at least once a day.” says Germaine, a client since July. “The volunteers are polite and good humoured. They work hard for us and I tell them to keep safe.”
Not only are clients benefiting from our support service, but family members are too. Knowing that their loved ones are receiving nutritious food and a check in from friendly volunteers relieves a lot of stress.
“Meals on Wheels has provided me with a great sense of security knowing that someone is there to check in on him,” says Catherine, whose son has been receiving our frozen meal deliveries during COVID. “Once or twice he has not answered his door and I received a phone call right away and I was able to investigate further. He will go days without leaving his apartment, so the volunteer is often the only human contact he has.”
Over the last several months, our support service has proven to be more critical than ever. Since a state of emergency was declared by the City of Ottawa on March 25, we have served over 53,300 hot and frozen meals to more than 1,045 clients. And while the meals we deliver is the main service we provide, the caring contact and check-in from trained volunteers are what makes our support service more than just a meal.
For more information about Community Support Month, visit the Ontario Community Support Association’s website: ocsa.on.ca/csm and follow the conversation on social media at #CSM2020.