Squamish Meals on Wheels Pilot Program a Success
For several years we had a dream to create a Meals on Wheels program in Squamish. This dream came true in October 2021 when the first meals quietly went out the door to be delivered to people in their homes by Susan, our first Meals on Wheels volunteer.
Under One Roof Chef Venita Fung and her team lovingly created delicious, nutritious, and downright gorgeous meals.
We started small and low-key, sending out 9 meals on our first day. We worried, would people like having the service?
Would they like the food?
Would we be able to make it work?
Pascal Marcotte, the Meals on Wheels Program co-ordinator and co-creator easily became friends with the clients and the team of volunteers. Between October 2021 and March 2022, over 700 hot, nutritious, tasty and affordable meals were produced in our kitchen and delivered to the homes of seniors by friendly volunteers.
The results of our evaluation point to improved physical and mental health of seniors and a greater sense of connection to the community. All of the survey respondents indicated that our Meals on Wheels program has improved their quality of life, that they eat healthier, and that it helps them improve their health.
“I am very grateful for all you do. The food is delicious, and the chef does an excellent job. It is lovely to connect with people. Thank you so much.”-MOW recipient
The project has strengthened community connections in many ways. An important contributor to this was being able to connect people to other local supports and programs as well as receive referrals from other partners. This has enabled us and other local programs to extend our reach and impact. We have been able to work closely with Sea to Sky Community Services, Vancouver Coastal Health, Squamish Nation, Registered Dietitians in the Sea to Sky, internal Squamish Helping Hands programs, and others partners.
Volunteers are key to the success of this program.
“I really do enjoy this so much…very brief and pleasant interactions especially with my regulars. I love doing M.O.W. and find it humbling at times. It is such a great program, and I am super happy to be helping in a very small way. I love my colleagues at UOR and really enjoy my shifts there” – Lois, MOW Volunteer
Our reusable container system and rescued food approach has reduced the environmental impact of plastic pollution and food waste.
34 local seniors benefited from the pilot program, including those discharged from hospital, people recovering from surgery, people with disability, illness or injury, those who struggle with meal preparation, and those who are unable to afford other food options. Many family members and friends also benefit from the service. Knowing that their loved ones are receiving healthy meals and a check-in from friendly volunteers relieves stress, offers safety and peace of mind.
One of our first meal recipients was referred to us by Squamish Nation Member Services. He is an elder in the community who needed to use a wheelchair after sustaining an injury. He was prompted to use our services due to his limited mobility, difficulty preparing meals, and new diet guidance. Both the client and volunteers enjoyed each others company and sharing stories. The client got healthier and his mobility back, this is what the family had to say: “He thinks the meals are great, but he likes to cook now that he’s recovered from his injury. We would like to thank you, the cook, and the volunteer drivers too”.
The need for this program in Squamish is clear and our team is working hard to continue the program. We are seeking funding sources to be able to continue and grow the program.
Squamish Helping Hands gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Squamish Community Foundation and the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation for supporting the Meals on Wheels pilot project.
Please help us to continue to provide healthy hot meals to seniors and people in need. We rely on your support.
Help us reach our goal of raising $30,000 in June!
Learn more: Meals on Wheels