Durham Region mayors and local councillors are helping to deliver Meals on Wheels the week of March 22 to 26, as Community Care Durham (CCD) celebrates March for Meals, an annual event to raise awareness regarding Meals on Wheels.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began the demand for meals has spiked at CCD. Last December 14,547 meals were delivered, that’s 73% higher – 6,130 extra meals – compared to December 2019.
James Meloche, CEO, Community Care Durham, said he doesn’t expect the demand for Meals on Wheels to decline any time soon.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “Fortunately we’ve got a good group of volunteers who help deliver the meals to our clients. It’s a credit to them that we’ve met the demand.”
Access to well-balanced and affordable meals is imperative to the independence and sustenance of isolated seniors and individuals with disabilities; this has been magnified immensely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Research shows that healthy eating provides essential energy and nutrients for general welfare and maintenance of health, functional autonomy and risk reduction of chronic diseases in older ages.
The benefits of Meals on Wheels are physical, emotional and psychological and this community support program is more important than ever right now. Meals on Wheels volunteers perform a valuable security and social welfare check for isolated clients and can notify the proper authorities in the case of accident or injury.
CCD is one of 126 not-for-profit organizations that receives provincial government funding to provide Meals on Wheels in Ontario. Last year these organizations delivered 2,717,313 meals to 43,248 Ontarians, with 86% of Meals on Wheels recipients over the age of 65. Meals on Wheels programs provide an essential service to our home and community support sector, but many Meals on Wheels providers have not received an increase to their base funding in more than 10 years.
CCD looks forward to welcoming the mayors and councillors during March for Meals and raising awareness of the importance of this vital service. For more information about Meals on Wheels or to find out how you can volunteer, please visit www.communitycaredurham.on.ca.