Photo: Kendell and Michael Zajac show what a typical meal might look like that they prepare for the Meals on Wheels program.
By Shelly Wiebe
Senior Support Services is a non-profit organization, partially funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health. They provide programs and services which enhance the lives of local aging community members.
According to Annette Wilson, program manager for the Delhi, Langton and Port Rowan area, the most popular of the many services they offer, are Meals on Wheels and Transportation.
“We have roughly 17 individuals that access our Meals on Wheels program within the communities that I’m responsible for,” says Annette who adds that within recent years they were starting to see a decline in volunteers, yet a growth in clients.
“Our volunteers themselves were aging and we really needed to rethink how we would supply our clients with the meals that they needed,” says Annette. “We found ourselves scrambling for volunteers but it was becoming too risky to depend on individuals so we started to look at outsourcing the job.”
When the Country Fork opened its doors this past summer, Annette made the call and was overwhelmed with gratitude when Michael and Kendell Zajac, owners of the restaurant, agreed to do a trial run of preparing meals for their program.
“It was really a no-brainer for us,” says Kendell. “My grandma lived by herself and was in and out of nursing homes before recently passing away. She had to do a lot of cooking for herself. Michael and I really understood the need and it was an easy decision for us to get on board.”
The fresh, home-cooked meals consist of a soup and cracker combo, a bread and butter, a small salad as well as an entree and a dessert. Kendell says that most of the time the meal provides a senior with a whole day of food as they eat half for lunch and half for supper.
“We also take into consideration different dietary needs and accommodate those with different health issues,” Kendell added.
Meals on Wheels currently runs three days a week. Providing seniors with their Wednesday meals, The Country Fork will also be taking on Fridays when they return from their break in February, but the need for more volunteers is still overwhelming.
“It’s more than a meal,” says Kendell “but also something to look forward to. So many seniors are forgetful and can go days without eating or even getting a visitor. Senior Support Services is filling a much needed hole for the seniors in our area.”
Annette says that their greatest need at Senior Support Services is more volunteers. She encourages anyone who has free time and a valid license to contact them at 519-426-6060.
“Whether you have a seasonal job or are retired and looking for something to fill your time, our services can only be as strong as our volunteers.”