The Meals on Wheels program continues to deliver, making a difference for many seniors in the townships of Wellesley, Woolwich and Wilmot.
“We deliver meals from Breslau to New Dundee. We are rural based,” says Cathy Harrington, executive director at Community Care Concepts in Elmira.
Meals on Wheels supplies hot and frozen meals for a minimal fee to residents to help them live independently in their homes. This can be short or long term.
Hot meals consist of soup, salad, an entrée and dessert and are available Monday to Friday at lunch time.
Special diets can also be accommodated such as diabetic, minced, low fat and low cholesterol.
“Some seniors might get a meal once a week and some might want meals more often. It’s very flexible,” Harrington said.
Meals on Wheels delivered to 430 clients between April 2018 and March 2019, during which time a total of 22,000 meals were delivered, including a combination of hot and frozen meals.
And with every passing year, the demand for meals increases.
“We do hot meals, but also offer frozen options too,” Harrington says. “A company, Entrée Plus, prepares those for us and the meals are then frozen. All meals are tested. Clients can keep them in the freezer and have them for weekends or evenings. They have that option as well.”
Individuals or their families interested in accessing this program can do so by contacting or visiting Community Care Concepts in Elmira.
“They will then be given some paperwork to fill out and they can have access to the program as soon as 48 hours after initial contact is made,” Harrington said.
Meals on Wheels are delivered by volunteers who also provide friendly contact and a security check on clients who are homebound. Meals are not just left on the doorstep. If there is no answer, volunteers will try to contact the client or try to reach an emergency contact to ensure that clients are safe.
“We have about 120 engaged volunteers across the board,” Harrington said. Some do consistent routes and some step up when needed.”
“The interesting thing is that the concept for this program was in Woolwich Township long before Meals on Wheels began here. Local churches were taking hot meals to people from their congregations long before. It then grew into a life of its own.”
Community Care Concepts came to be in 1985.
It’s a non-profit organization which provides high quality services throughout the townships of Woolwich, Wellesley and Wilmot, enabling seniors and special needs clients to have the ability to remain as independent as possible in their own homes.
Other than Meals on Wheels, the organization provides a variety of services including assisted transport, homemaking services, friendly visiting and inside and outside maintenance.
“The critical piece with the Meals on Wheels program is that other than providing an important source of nutrition, it’s that visit from the volunteer that is so important,” Harrington says.
“The volunteers conduct a safety check They are the eyes and ears of the community. For some clients this might be the only person they see that day. That’s why their visit is so important. It’s all about social contact.”