This year marks the 50th anniversary of Meals on Wheels in Fredericton: that’s 50 years of volunteers delivering hot meals to seniors in their homes. At last count Meals on Wheels delivered more than 50,000 meals in 2016, an increase of 10,000 meals over the previous year, following a 25% increase in 2014. The need will only grow as the population of New Brunswick continues to age.
Fredericton’s Meals on Wheels began through the efforts of St. Paul’s United Church in 1967. Now, 50 years later, volunteers deliver 150 meals a day, 365 days a year. The service is key to keeping seniors in their own homes longer. It’s also a great way for a daily check-in on an isolated senior. For some clients, the Meals on Wheels volunteer may be the only person they see all day.
In October of 2016, David Coon joined Joan McDaniel, volunteer and president of the board of Meals on Wheels, to make deliveries. David saw first-hand how valuable the work of Meals on Wheels is to those who benefit from a daily visit and a hot meal.
There is also a weekly meal offered from September to May that “delivers” seniors to a luncheon. It’s called Wheels to Meals. In this case, volunteers pick up seniors and bring them to St. Mary’s Anglican Church for a hot meal, entertainment and a chance to socialize.
Meals on Wheels relies on volunteers to deliver all their meals. Volunteers typically commit to 1-2 hours a week. The average age of their volunteers is 70. “Many of our amazing volunteers are seniors. We would like to expand the youth base of our volunteers as well, and partner students or youth with some of our long term volunteers developing a mentorship opportunity,” said Betty Daniels, Executive Director.
If you would like to sign up for a meal or to volunteer, please check out Meals on Wheels at frederictonmealsonwheels.ca or you can reach them by phone at: (506) 452-9482