Since the 1970s, Meals on Wheels in Sault Ste. Marie has been delivering meals to isolated people in need of food and empathy.
The service now needs more volunteer drivers to deliver meals.
“Every little bit helps. If we don’t have volunteers we don't have a program,” said Cassidy Ryan, Meals on Wheels coordinator for Sault Ste. Marie speaking to SooToday.
Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers deliver nutritional meals - the meals prepared at the F. J. Davey Home - to seniors as well as people who are recovering from surgery, suffering from chronic illness and disabilities from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday as well as wellness checks.
“It makes me feel good knowing that they’re checking up on people in the community who need this, and just to let them know they’re not alone,” Ryan said, reflecting on the work Meals on Wheels volunteers have done.
“I just feel like a lot of times seniors are not so much forgotten but they’re at home and they don’t get to see family members as much. Family members have jobs so every little thing counts. I know a lot of seniors appreciate seeing the volunteers. I get calls a lot stating how volunteers are helpful, how much they enjoy seeing them. We have volunteers that will get candy from seniors, Christmas cards or five bucks for a cup of coffee. Volunteers obviously say ‘no, we do this out of the kindness of our own hearts, we enjoy doing this.’”
Throughout COVID lockdowns, Meals on Wheels delivered boxed meals at the door for clients.
Prospective Meals on Wheels volunteers are asked to volunteer their time at least once a week or even once a month.
Meals on Wheels in Sault Ste. Marie currently has approximately 45 volunteer drivers but has a need for approximately five or six volunteers with some time to spare, Ryan said.
Meals on Wheels has capacity for 120 clients with approximately 115 clients at present, Ryan said.
Meals on Wheels drivers in the Sault are required to drive as far as Goulais Avenue in the west to Boundary Road in the east, as well as Third Line to the north.
The application process for volunteers includes a requirement for two references, a drivers licence, a background check and proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Those interested in helping Meals on Wheels can contact Ryan at (705) 256-4239 or by email.
“There's definitely a huge call for help,” Ryan said.