Meals on Wheels celebrates 50 years of service in Niagara Falls
Meals on Wheels executive director Marianne McRae, Roger Schmid and Dennis Milani outside the offices in Niagara Falls. The non-profit service is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Niagara Falls this year. – Bob Tymczyszyn,Torstar
Roger Schmid, Meals on Wheels executive director Marianne McRae and Dennis Milani outside the offices in Niagara Falls. The non-profit service is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Niagara Falls this year. – Bob Tymczyszyn,Torstar
Meals on Wheels delivers much more than a nutritious meal.
Assistance with meals goes a long way to help maintain or regain a person’s independence in their own home.
Just as important, says Marianne McRae, the agency’s executive director, is that the meal is delivered by a cheerful volunteer who can insure the safety of a client by providing a check on their well-being.
Meals on Wheels, a non-profit volunteer service which provides home delivery of hot or frozen meals, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Niagara Falls this year.
The local program, which serves both Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, is open to anyone who is at “nutritional risk,” McRae said.
This may include the elderly, people with physical challenges, and those recently discharged from hospital.
Each year, an army of just less than 200 volunteers deliver 35,000 meals to 800-plus clients.
The hot meal includes soup, an entrée with two vegetables and a dessert. Therapeutic diets, such as low salt or pureed, can also be accommodated.
The meals are prepared at the Greater Niagara General Hospital kitchen, under the supervision of a dietitian.
Frozen meals are prepared by staff at Niagara Ina Grafton Gage Home in St. Catharines, also under the supervision of qualified dietitians.
“It only costs clients what it costs us,” McRae said. “There are no delivery charges or taxes, no additional charges.”
The agency also offers congregate dining in Niagara Falls.
The goal is to encourage socialization among local seniors living in apartment buildings. Lunch is served once a month in the common rooms of various locations across the city.
There’s also the Lunch Out program whereby volunteers provide transportation for mobile seniors to have lunch at a local restaurant once a month.
Roger Schmid has been a volunteer driver for the past six years but his history with the agency goes back much further.
His mother-in-law was a volunteer for 35 years, and his wife is also a volunteer.
“So when I retired, I knew this would something I wanted to do,” he said.
Dennis Milani has been a volunteer driver for the past 12 months.
“I wanted to give back to the community,” he said. “Some people are fortunate and others are not so we should try to help out as much as we can.”
McRae, who has been with Meals on Wheels for 32 years, said volunteers are the backbone of the program. New volunteers are always welcome.
“We have a very large volunteer base and we’re always needing more,” she said. “Our volunteer base is aging, we have some who have been with us for 48 years.”
The agency hosted a volunteer appreciation dinner May 14 at Club Italia.
For further information, visit mealsonwheelsniagara.ca or call 905-356-7548 or 1-877-665-6325.