Mayor, chiefs and others help promote Meals on Wheels

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A few local seniors got a little surprise when they received their daily meal from Meals on Wheels.

The program, offered locally by Amherstburg Community Service (ACS), was administered with the aid of Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, police chief Tim Berthiaume, assistant deputy chief Lee Tome and Capt. Ron Meloche from the Amherstburg Fire Department Wednesday morning. The initiative was also held in LaSalle where Mayor Ken Antaya assisted in delivering meals.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said there were a number of reasons the local officials were called in again this year.

“It’s to bring awareness of senior nutrition and isolation,” said DiBartolomeo.

ACS' Meals on Wheels program received a boost March 23 thanks to people within the community and local town figures. From left: Heather Vandenham from Seasons Amherstburg, Chief Tim Berthiaume of Amherstburg police, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Amherstburg Fire Department assistant deputy chief Lee Tome, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo and Capt. Ron Meloche of the Amherstburg Fire Department.

ACS’ Meals on Wheels program received a boost March 23 thanks to people within the community and local town figures. From left: Heather Vandenham from Seasons Amherstburg, Chief Tim Berthiaume of Amherstburg police, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Amherstburg Fire Department assistant deputy chief Lee Tome, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo and Capt. Ron Meloche of the Amherstburg Fire Department.

The event allows people to know that not only are senior citizens receiving nutritious meals but also raises awareness of the needs of seniors.

ACS served 20,000 meals last year though its Meals on Wheels program, she added, up from the 6,000 meals the agency served in 2008.

“They do everything from scratch,” said DiBartolomeo.

Not only do meals get delivered to Amherstburg residents straight from the kitchen at ACS’s office at 179 Victoria St. S., DiBartolomeo said meals are also delivered in LaSalle, Harrow and McGregor. Meals are driven into LaSalle five days per week while volunteers drive meals into Harrow three days per week.

Rosemary Smith receives her food from Meals on Wheels from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo March 23.

Rosemary Smith receives her food from Meals on Wheels from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo March 23.

DiCarlo said he was “flattered” to be asked to help out.

“It’s really an honour and privilege to be invited to participate in something like this,” said DiCarlo. “Being involved in the community is one of the best things you can do. The people who do this day after day should be recognized.”

Doing the simple things can make a difference, he added. The seniors being able to interact with someone can also make a positive impact.

“When you talk to them, it really makes their day,” said DiCarlo.

Knowing it takes “a tremendous amount of volunteers” to run the Meals on Wheels program, the mayor added that is one of Amherstburg’s best known features.

“Amherstburg is known for the volunteers we have,” he said.

Berthiaume said he “jumped at the chance” to get involved when he was asked. The police chief explained he has family connections with the Meals on Wheels program.

“My mother used to get Meals on Wheels when she lived at home and they did a fantastic job,” said Berthiaume. “When there is anything I can do to repay that, I’ll jump at the chance.”

Berthiaume also credited Meals on Wheels volunteers for making the local program what it is.

“The people who volunteer are wonderful people,” said Berthiaume. “It means a lot to the people (they help).”

Tome called it “a great partnership” and noted that, in the past, he has asked whether he can check the residents’ smoke alarms while he is there to make sure the seniors are safe.

Rosemary Smith was one of the seniors delivered to last Wednesday with the 90-year-old estimating it has been roughly one year since she started receiving meals.

Smith said “I certainly wouldn’t be eating as well” if she didn’t receive Meals on Wheels, adding she receives a meal five days per week.

“I find them very tasty,” she said, “and I enjoy them. I can get two meals out of one. It’s more than I can eat at one time, usually.”

For more information on Meals on Wheels or any of ACS’ programs, call 519-736-5471 or visit www.amherstburg-cs.com.

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