Dennis and his son Michael have been delivering Chinese Meals on Wheels together for more than 5 years. Equally as important as the meal and friendly visit for a Meals on Wheels client, is the time that Dennis and Michael get to spend together. Twice a week, Dennis and Michael deliver Chinese Meals on Wheels, spending quality time together and fostering a strong father-son bond.
Before immigrating to Canada, Dennis was a police officer in Hong Kong. After settling in Vancouver, Dennis decided to take early retirement to be able to take care of his son Michael who has autism. Dennis helped his son apply for volunteer work to help gain some work experience, and in 2008 Michael started his volunteer work with Care BC’s Chinese Meals on Wheels program.
At first, Michael struggled with communication issues and he felt troubled and discouraged. So in 2010, Dennis decided to join the Meals on Wheels team with Michael. Dennis loves volunteering as he knows he is truly making a difference by helping to care for elderly people living alone and providing them with short visits filled with warmth and understanding. For Michael, it is important to experience caring and to build relationships with others. Both Dennis and Michael believe that caring for others and providing service to the community is one of the true important things you can do in life!
Dennis believes he and his son will continue this volunteer work until they physically can’t participate anymore. Volunteers like Dennis and Michael are the heart and soul of the work Care BC does. We can’t thank them enough for bringing warmth and comfort to people in our community.
Mother’s Day often means a barrage of ideas on how to make your mom feel special by buying her something or making her breakfast in bed. While a nice gift or breakfast is always welcomed, it’s also important to remember to spend time with our moms year round.
Edith and Catherine Bernard still celebrate Mother’s Day. First, Edith and her daughters attend a service at their church and then they all share a special Mother’s Day meal, but throughout the year, Edith and Catherine take time to foster their special mother-daughter bond.
Edith, a retired bank worker, started volunteering with Meals on Wheels over 22 years ago. At that time, she often spent the summers volunteering with one of her granddaughters. Today, she credits their incredibly close relationship with the time they spent together delivering meals.
Around 7 years ago, on a particularly snowy day, Catherine decided to help her mother deliver meals. At that moment, she decided once she retired from her job as an elementary music teacher, she would continue to volunteer with her mother every week. They’ve been volunteering together for the past 5 years.
After each weeks’ delivery, Catherine and Edith have lunch together and catch up on the clients they see every week. Edith has been delivering in the same Mount Pleasant area for her entire 22 years as a volunteer. She’s delivered to countless clients, but some have had a real impact.
She specifically remembers a client named Bill whom she delivered to for years. Every week, they’d chat and catch up on the week’s news. Once Bill had to move into a residential care facility, Edith and her husband would visit Bill to ensure he always had company. After Bill passed away, his son sent Edith a letter thanking her for the difference she had made in his father’s life. Just a small conversation can be so impactful.
Both Catherine and Edith speak lovingly about the clients they get to know and the time they get to spend together every week. While they are both passionate about delivering meals, when asked what the best part of volunteering was, they both immediately mentioned the time they spend together. Mother’s Day is a great reminder that we should thank our moms for all the wonderful things they do and have done for us, but it’s also a chance to think about how we can keep that relationship blossoming year round. Spending time with your mom every week is a great start.
Peter - A Retiree
Peter has been delivering Meals on Wheels for the past year and has become a very valued member of the team! Hailing from Zurich, Switzerland Peter moved to Calgary at the age of 20 to work as a baker. After a year, Peter set out on a quest to see the Pacific Ocean and ended up working at a new Four Seasons hotel in Vancouver. Through working in various hotels Peter became familiar with Tauck tour company where he then worked for 25 years as one of their most beloved tour director managers, travelling all across the globe.
During this time, around 25 years ago, Peter became ill with yellow jaundice when living in North Vancouver. He received Meals on Wheels for three months while he was recovering and it was such a help to him that he decided he would volunteer when he retired. And he did!
He says, “I always knew it would be Meals on Wheels. I used to tell the tour guests that was my retirement plan”.
The best part about the role for Peter is visiting with the clients each day, he enjoys getting to know the people that he serves and would recommend Meals on Wheels volunteering for anyone who is compassionate and service orientated.
Christine - A Student
Christine is in her final year studying finance at UBC. She also works part time at TD Canada Trust and has been volunteering with Meals on Wheels for almost a year. Christine got involved in the program after a colleague, who used to volunteer with Meals on Wheels, recommended it to her.
“I wanted to volunteer working with seniors, so this is a good fit for me. I love spending time with our clients and getting to know them. The best part about this role is hearing their stories and being able to talk to them about their lives. The social aspect of Meals on Wheels is the most important part to me, I know that lots of the clients really appreciate the interaction and I do too! I’d recommend this role to anyone who is empathetic and patient- with a good sense of direction! It’s really rewarding.”
Francoise - Employed Volunteer
Francoise has been volunteering with Meals on Wheels since 1996. Francoise fits in her volunteering around her job with Air Canada who she has been with for 29 years.
“I love what I do! I fit my volunteering in around my shift work as well as being President of a women’s sorority group and looking after my grandmother in Surrey. I enjoy giving and helping out. I also really enjoy the company of seniors- eventually I may like to move into this area of work. Interaction with seniors and ensuring that they are properly nourished is key for me. It’s all about providing some time to be social and exchange a few kind words while giving people the security of a visit each day; it’s important to make the visit count. The seniors are such an asset in my life; they can be a real eye opener and teach me patience and grace.”
Francoise also got another asset from her volunteering: “I met my husband through Meals on Wheels! I was delivering in the Mount Pleasant area at the same time as him and we met at the depot. We ended up having lunch that day and it went from there. We have been married for twelve years.”