Volunteers make hot meals possible for many housebound people in Sooke. Clockwise

Meals on Wheels needs forward momentum

Lack of volunteers could curtail services to housebound

Alma Anslow is getting a little stressed. She is the president of Sooke Meals on Wheels and she is spinning her wheels trying to figure out how the organization can recruit more volunteers.

“It seems every summer we lose volunteers, but the meals still have to go out and the clients need to eat, “says Anslow.

For those who don’t know, Meals on Wheels is a non-profit community organization whose main focus is to bring low-cost homemade meals to seniors and those who are incapacitated in some way. Volunteer drivers deliver the meals directly to the client’s home and often this is one of the few visits the housebound may get in a week. It’s more than a delivery service really, it’s an important contact. Often the volunteer drivers will be able to access the client and they can keep an eye on the person in a small way for the family, although they are not caregivers and this is not their function.

“We feel our service is an important contact with these people who are housebound,” said Anslow.

Anslow said the organization is looking for volunteers to cook, to be cook’s helpers and to deliver meals. The meals are prepared in the kitchen at the Sooke Community Hall on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays mornings. The delivery volunteers drive about one-and-a-half hours and kitchen helpers work from 9 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m. They work in crews of approximately eight people twice a month, four people per crew drive and four work in the kitchen.

“As a result of some of our volunteers leaving the area, we find the kitchen staff severely reduced and we may have to reduce our service to two days a week, without additional volunteers,” says Anslow.

Sooke Meals on Wheels is not a new organization, in fact it is one of the longest running groups in Sooke. Back then they recognized the need and got to work. Sixty years ago, volunteers used to cook meals in their own kitchens.

The hot cooked meals are so important to those who are confined to their homes. Meals consist of a bun, soup, an entree of meat, a starch plus two vegetables and a dessert for the cost of $4.50 per meal delivered. No where could a senior find a real meal for that price. Clients can also choose to receive frozen meals that they can re-heat on days when there are no deliveries.

Anyone with a bit of time in their hands and the capacity to help, or anyone who knows of someone who would benefit from the service is asked to call Alma Anslow at 250-642-2184 or May at 250-642-4973.