Serving up more than just a hot meal

By Joel Charron

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) participated in the “Mayors for Meals” campaign last Monday morning.

The campaign, which runs across North America, is aimed at promoting the challenges of senior’s hunger and the role Meals on Wheels plays in communities to fight this problem.

Mayors in every municipality were asked to help deliver meals with the local Senior Nutrition Program to seniors in their region.

ACS operates the Meals on Wheels program for five days a week in Amherstburg and LaSalle. The McGregor and Harrow program operates three days a week.

The “Mayors for Meals” program began as an annual event in the United States and trickled down into Canada in 2009.

The Mayors for Meals program included a stop at the home of Ovila Caron Monday morning. The initiative was to help promote the Meals on Wheels program offered through Amherstburg Community Services. From left: ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Ovila Caron, son Stephen Caron, Mayor Wayne Hurst and Meals on Wheels volunteer Kevin Boussey.

Both Mayor Wayne Hurst and LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya lent a hand to volunteers to deliver the nutritional meals to seniors.

ACS executive director, Kathy DiBartolomeo said the non-profit organization was excited to take part in the “Mayors for Meals” campaign.

“We hope to raise awareness of senior nutrition needs in our community,” said DiBartolomeo.

DiBartolomeo also mentioned the program’s other goal is to raise funds and help recruit volunteers.

ACS currently has 65 volunteers and provides 105 nutritional meals to seniors. DiBartolomeo stated that the Meals on Wheels program provides more than just a healthy meal.

“Besides meeting their nutritional needs, it also gives seniors a social contact with volunteers every day,” she said.

Mayor Hurst helped volunteer Kevin Boussey deliver a meal to Ovila Caron. Hurst said there is a need for the Meals on Wheels program and it is because of its volunteers that they are able to meet those needs.

“It is a program where people have come together and are doing their best to see that need is met,” said Hurst.

Hurst also mentioned that having seniors being able to stay in the comfort of their own home and receive a meal could go a long way to one’s well being.

Stephen Caron, Ovila’s son, said his father has been a part of the Meals on Wheels program for a while. He said the program has always been good and provided nutritious meals for those who need them.

Boussey, who has been delivering meals for roughly two years,  said he got involved with the program when he lost his job.

“I always wanted to do some volunteer work and now I have the time,” said Boussey. “I really look forward to it. I could be sitting at home doing nothing but I do this instead.”

Boussey said he gets a “warming feeling” knowing that he is helping people. He also added that he will sit and talk with his customers for five or ten minutes to chat and ensure they are ok.

“We are here to deliver a meal, but also to check up on them,” said Boussey. “They appreciate that.”

For more information about Meals on Wheels and other programs offered by Amherstburg Community Services, call 519-736-5471.

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