Providing healthy meals to Sooke households where individuals are unable to buy or prepare their own meals has been Lorraine Hoy’s passion for years.
But Sooke’s Meals on Wheels program is in need of volunteers if the program is to continue.
“We always get a change-over in volunteers here. People just sort of get burned out after two or three years, and we always have to recruit some new helpers to keep going,” Hoy said.
The program will see two of its cooks leave by the end of April and replacing those volunteers is not as simple as handing over an apron and ladle.
“They have to pass a food safety course and, ideally, we’d love for them to work with someone for two or three weeks before they go it alone,” said Hoy.
Bill Anderson, one of the eight cooks, said the program has to take into account dietary restrictions, as well as allergies and personal preferences when they prepare the meals.
“We may say that we’re preparing five different meals, but the real number is probably several times that many,” Anderson said.
He said many Meals on Wheels volunteers are elderly and may be inclined to give up their volunteer service.
“I’m 81 years old. I’m supposed to be getting meals, not cooking them,” Anderson said with a laugh.
“We have people who are in their 80s who are still driving for us, delivering meals. It’s time for some new people to come on board.”
The Meals on Wheels program offers complete meals three times a week for $6 per meal. The healthy meals are delivered by volunteer drivers and clients who need more than the three meals a week can take advantage of some frozen offerings that the service prepares.
“Meals on Wheels just couldn’t survive without the kindness of the volunteers who cook and deliver the meals to the elderly or infirm. The cooks get paid nothing and we can only sometimes reimburse the drivers for their gas,” Hoy said.
“But when you consider the impact that we’re having on people’s lives, it’s all worth it.
Anyone wishing to offer their help as either a cook or a driver can contact the organization at 250-664-7222.