Meals on Wheels volunteers prepare to distribute food to clients. From left are Susanne Nielsen

Volunteers provide meal delivery

Monday, Wednesday and Friday. rain or shine, snow or sleet, holiday or not, volunteers deliver meals to clients throughout the community.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday. rain or shine, snow or sleet, holiday or not, volunteers deliver meals to clients throughout the community.

The Meals on Wheels program is sponsored by the Rotary Club. The food is prepared at the Summerland Health Centre.

The cost of preparing the food is borne by the Interior Health Authority with the charge of $4.50 per meal representing a subsidized low food cost only.

The volunteer drivers and coordinators donate their time and vehicle costs.

Program coordinator Charlotte Burley organizes the drivers and the coordinators. She said there are currently 30 clients receiving the service.

Delivery is broken down into three different routes, so three sets of drivers are needed for each of the three days.

One coordinator is also needed each day to dish up the soup, and package up each client’s meal in the insulated containers, tying them up ready for delivery.

Drivers then deliver the food, going into each client’s house and often stopping to chat for a few minutes. They also deliver the bills for the meals and collect payment once per month.

When they have finished their route they return the containers and client cards to the Health Centre and submit any money collected to the accountant.

The whole process is usually completed in an hour and a half.

“Drivers do this because they get a lot of pleasure out of it and of course they realize it is very important to the people they are serving,” said Burley.

“You realize that this is what keeps people where they are living, happily, and one can get very emotional about it. You know that you are doing something very important for these people, that will allow them to stay home a little longer.”

When asked if there was a need for more volunteers Burley replied,

“Of course! As a programmer that is my most challenging job. We cater to our drivers because they are great and they are dedicated.”

She added that some people can only volunteer for parts of the year and others only on certain days. People are involved in other activities or have other commitments.

“This is not their only gig,” she said.

Burley also praised the kitchen staff, saying how supportive they are of the program.

“They are absolutely amazing…really, really, good to us. They make it a really pleasant environment in which to work. They are as dedicated as we are.”

If anyone in the community wishes to become a volunteer or would like to receive this service, they can contact Charlotte Burley at 250-494-1173.

If you know a positive story about someone in our community, contact Carla McLeod at carlamcleod@shaw.ca or contact the Summerland Review newsroom at 250-494-5406.

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