Submitted by Jena Davarajah –
When heading towards your favourite shops in the city, you might have the chance to stroll Wellington West Street during the lunch hour. If so, there’s a good chance you’ll see a Meals on Wheels Ottawa volunteer with a bright red bag delivering hot, freshly prepared meals. The volunteers play a key role in the Meals on Wheels service. Not only do they provide a friendly check-in for clients, who may otherwise not see anyone that day, they also provide necessary nutritional meal support that enables seniors and adults with disabilities to continue to live independently and safely in their own home. Volunteers also benefit, as volunteering provides them the opportunity to develop more personal connections in their community.
One particular volunteer with a rather infectious smile would attest to that. Sarah Parks has been a volunteer with Meals on Wheels since 2016 and has since recruited her entire family to help with deliveries. She is no stranger to Kitchissippi ward, as she has worked and volunteered steadily in the area since moving from the United States a few years ago. Sarah understands the importance of her volunteer role at Meals on Wheels, especially the check-in for vulnerable clients.
“It allows the clients to have social interactions and for someone to look out for them,” she says. Sarah believes that the built-in supports at Meals on Wheels, such as referring clients to other Community Support Services, is a valuable component of the program and gives family members peace of mind: “It’s nice to know that someone is looking out for their [loved ones].”
In addition to the hot meals delivered six days a week, Meals on Wheels also offers a special Christmas meal for its more isolated clients along with gifts kindly donated from the community. Kitchissippi restaurateur Moe Atallah from the Newport Restaurant has been working alongside Meals on Wheels for the past 17 years, preparing and delivering these delicious turkey dinners. This year will be no different with preparations already underway, all with the support of volunteers!
Meals on Wheels Ottawa is always looking for new and enthusiastic volunteers. Both volunteer servers and drivers are needed for meal deliveries from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday. If you are interested in helping in your neighbourhood, please call Jill Daigle at 613-233-2424 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can always find more about Meals on Wheels on their website at mealsonwheels-ottawa.org.
Jena Davarajah is a volunteer coordinator with Meals on Wheels.