By Greg Price
The Meals on Wheels program for seniors is evolving to serve its customers more efficiently.
The Meals on Wheels program has been administered through Taber & District Housing Foundation for the past 10 years, with meals being prepared in the Clearview Lodge kitchen.
“The Red Seal Chef oversees the preparation of an imaginative, healthy, and most of all, great tasting four-course meal which consists of a main dish, soup, salad, & dessert, at a low cost to the client,” said Jo-Anne Machacek with Taber and District Housing, co-organizer of the local Meals on Wheels program. “At present, we offer five meals per week, Monday to Friday, but would like to expand this to seven days per week, if possible by incorporating frozen meals on the weekends.”
Meals are available to seniors, persons suffering illness/injury recuperation, or anyone requiring additional nutritional support.
Applicants under 65 would have to provide a health professionals note.
“Community volunteer groups consisting of businesses, church groups, and local clubs deliver approximately 3,000 meals annually to residents of the Town of Taber,” said Machacek. ‘Without these awesome volunteers, this program would not be able to run. We can always use more volunteers, so if you are interested please contact our office.”
Taber and District Housing has had requests for rural meals over the past few years, and so the organization is gauging the viability with the public if it were to expand its scope to gain access to the Meals on Wheels Program.
“Even in Barnwell right now we can’t really serve. Every Monday through Friday at lunch, Meals on Wheels is delivered by a group of volunteers. The reality is sometimes the volunteers are as old as the clients receiving the meals. And so we get calls from people in Barnwell, or Grassy Lake or Vauxhall, or the homestead out in the farming community asking how we can access this,” said Tim Janzen, chief administrative officer for Taber and District Housing Foundation, highlighting the need for volunteers as the program considers its delivery model. “The idea is we would consider freezing meals, so rather than daily delivery, it may be you buy a week’s worth of meals. So we will work it out as either us as a volunteer, or a family member maybe comes in once a week to pick up their five or seven days worth of meals. If we go to frozen, there’s a good chance we can go to seven days a week.”
Putting less stress on volunteer demands while delivering as many meals as possible in one visit would allow the meal service to be expanded to the M.D. of Taber communities and Vauxhall, Enchant, Hays, Barnwell and Grassy Lake.
“We would like to determine if there would be a rural volunteer base that could deliver these meals, either daily or once a week if we go with the frozen meal option. This would require enough interest to make year-round deliveries. Without wonderful volunteers, the program will not be able to run,” said Machacek. “At this point we are just gathering information, to see if there is enough interest to make the M.D. of Taber deliveries viable.”
Please contact our office if you or your group would be interested in the Rural Deliveries, also if you or anyone you know could benefit from Meals on Wheels.
Anyone interested in either receiving, volunteering to deliver, or donating to the Meals on Wheels program, are asked to drop in, call, or e-mail Taber District Housing Foundation. Taber and District Housing Foundation is located at 5318 48th Avenue in Taber. You can call for Machacek at 403-223-2767 ext. 6 or e-mail Jo-AnneM@taberhsg.ca.