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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

March for Meals campaign raises awareness with local mayors




by Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative

Essex Mayor Sherry Bondy showed support to, and helped raise awareness for, the Meals on Wheels program on Monday, by joining the local portion of the nation-wide March for Meals campaign.

  This annual initiative is aimed at highlighting how important the Meals on Wheels program is to seniors and those living with disabilities. It also generates public awareness about senior hunger and insolation.

  As part of Monday’s program, local Mayors are invited to join volunteers as they deliver a hot lunch to clients.

  Bondy met with local volunteers at the Essex Retirees’ Social Club. This is where drop-off volunteers relay the prepared meals to a second pair of volunteers who deliver the food right to the homes of clients.  

  The Community Support Centre coordinates the Meals on Wheels program locally. Cooks prepare the meals at the Community Support Centre of Essex County facility in Puce. It serves the Essex, Tecumseh, Belle River, and Stoney Point areas. Around 60-70 volunteers are involved with the program and ensure the meals are delivered to those who need them.

   Hot meals are delivered to Essex and area clients three days a week – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Frozen meals are available to clients for the off days and weekends. 

  The number of meals delivered fluctuates, based on demand. Hannah Haskell, Program Coordinator of Food Services for the Community Support Centre of Essex County, noted.

  The Essex route, Haskell added, is typically smaller, however, it has grown in the past few months.

  The local Meals on Wheels program offers home delivered and congregate dining in the communities of Lakeshore, Tecumseh, and Essex, Haskell added.

  Included in the meal is a homemade soup, entree with meat, a starch, two vegetables, a bread, and dessert.

When delivering a hot meal, program clients also get to enjoy a quick social visit with the volunteers.

Ruth Vick said she enjoys volunteering with the program, and added that the clients enjoy that quick visit as it could be the only social encounter some seniors may have throughout the day.

  Bondy participated in the March for Meals program for the first-time last year. She enjoyed the experience, noting many of the clients expressed the meal delivery, and visit, is something to which they look forward.

  “Everyone likes a hot meal,” she said. “Having nutritious food is something everyone should have.”

  The Meals on Wheels program is an important service, Bondy noted, adding she appreciates all the volunteers who dedicate themselves to the service.

  The Community Support Centre offers an array of programs, including adult day program, community food pantry, foot care, transportation, and home supports.

  The Community Support Centre of Essex County can be reached by calling 519-728-1435.

  Log onto www.communitysupportcentre.ca to learn more about the Meals on Wheels program.

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