Brya-Lee Toews with Crestview Lodge prepares supper for close to 30 residents of the retirement home. Beginning in January, the kitchen will also be put to use as the Pincher Creek Foundation relaunches the Meals on Wheels program, shelved in 2020 by the pandemic. | Photo by Dave LuenebergDave Lueneberg, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

After being absent for almost four years, the popular Meals on Wheels program is coming back to Pincher Creek, Alta.

Shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pincher Creek Foundation has announced the program’s return. 

“The decision from the foundation, at that time, was for the safety and security of our volunteers, as well as our recipients of the meals, that we would halt the service,” says CAO Annie Lok.

Seeing the need and being clear of the pandemic, the foundation is keen to bring Meals on Wheels back.

The mandate of the program is to provide low-cost nutritional meals to the aged, ill, handicapped, convalescent and those who lack the strength or motivation to prepare adequate meals. On a short-term basis, it also caters to individuals recovering from surgery or illness while they regain their strength at home.

“We are looking for volunteers to help us bring this program to fruition,” Annie says. “We’ve decided we won’t be starting up until January to give us a little bit of time to get the logistics in place.”

After three years, many former volunteers and groups might not be available or may have moved away. The foundation, though, is confident others will step forward. 

“It was definitely a community effort. Each group [including the United Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] would take on one day a week,” Annie says, and individual volunteers could then fill the vacant spots.

“I want to re-energize the same strategy.”

As was done prior to the pandemic, meals will be prepared by staff at Crestview Lodge using the facility’s commercial kitchen. It’s viewed as a cost-saving measure as the not-for-profit organization, like all of us, faces a rising rate of inflation.

While a grant from Family and Community Support Services will provide base funding, the program’s success will rest with volunteers. 

Meals on Wheels will run Monday to Friday, and offers a choice of which day(s) a person can have their freshly-prepared meal delivered. For some seniors, the meals might be too much. In that case, it’s suggested the remainder be frozen and saved for a Saturday or Sunday when delivery isn’t offered.

A similar and successful program is also run in another southwest community, Crowsnest Pass.

By Dave Lueneberg, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Nov 16, 2023 at 16:06

This item reprinted with permission from   Shootin' the Breeze   Pincher Creek, Alberta

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