Many of our Meals on Wheels (MOW) volunteers are retired – the opportunity allows them to stay active and give back to the community, for just a few hours per shift (deliveries are scheduled between 10:30am and 1pm). But there are an increasing number of new volunteers who work outside of ‘office hours’ or part-time who are also helping out.
Lindsay and Geneviève (pictured, left and right respectively), who both work at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, are MOW volunteers helping out in the Cedar Cottage area every Friday. They both work evenings and nights; volunteering in the late morning/early afternoon suits their schedule perfectly. “When you work nights, sometimes you feel that you’ve sat around the house all morning”, says Lindsay. She describes their commitment as “only a couple hours a week” (we’re very grateful for the help!), but it’s a very meaningful experience for them both.
Lindsay first brought up the idea of volunteering to Geneviève, who was aware of the service because her grandmother had helped the program that serves Montreal. They both thought it would be the perfect New Year’s resolution to give back to the community. Although Geneviève sold her car once she moved to Gastown, Lindsay picks her up in her car each shift. “I pick up the coffee for us both each shift,” says Geneviève, “I like that we get to catch up during our route – we see each other at work, but don’t always have time for a proper visit.”
When they first started volunteering, about a year and a half ago, they helped out in a few different areas. Eventually a regular route became available in the Cedar Cottage neighbourhood, where Lindsay used to live. “We were so happy when we got a regular route,” she said, “because we get to see many of the same clients each time we deliver”. Geneviève recalls having a good laugh with a client when he answered the door wearing a joke T-shirt picturing a bear chasing a cyclist which read ‘Meals on Wheels’.
Lindsay and Geneviève both recognize the importance of the informal safety check on each client they provide with their deliveries. Lindsay mentioned that her own grandfather once injured himself and no one from the family was able to visit him in person for 3 days (as he lives out of town). With a little added support from Meals on Wheels, many clients feel they can live independently in their own homes for longer.
One their regular clients recently moved into an assisted living facility (and no longer required Meals on Wheels) – “We were sad when we heard that Ana would be discontinuing her deliveries. We’ll miss our brief visits, but we’re happy to know that she’s in a facility that can provide her the additional care she needs.”
We’re very grateful for the support we receive from Lindsay and Geneviève each week – thanks for your support and commitment!
If you have ever considered volunteering (either individually or with a friend), we hope you’ll reach out. Learn more about our volunteering opportunities at www.carebc.ca/volunteering.html.