BY ANDREW SMITH
LISTOWEL – Mayor Julie Behrns and volunteers with VON Perth-Huron were on the road providing food and fellowship last Wednesday for the fifth annual Mayors for Meals Day.
Jennifer O’Grady, co-ordinator of client services for VON Perth-Huron, said she was excited to have Behrns participating in the event, designed to raise awareness of the Meals on Wheels service.
“We really appreciate that she has participated right from the start,” she said. “It gives the event important recognition that it’s something that someone is supporting.”
O’Grady said the program primarily serves North Perth, with hot meals available to residents of Listowel and frozen meals available through the rest of the municipality.
“Within a month, we’re probably serving about 20 clients within the program,” she said. “On the volunteer side of things, we’re probably running with close to 50 that assist with the program.”
O’Grady spoke to how vital the Meals on Wheels program is to the community, and how many residents rely on having a volunteer stop in to see them on a regular basis.
“There would be people that may not be able to remain in their own homes without the meal being brought in,” she said. “I think some people would have to move into long-term care situations sooner than they wish to.”
Behrns has been participating for all five years the Mayors for Meals event has been held locally, and said she keeps coming back because the feeling of helping residents in the community is rewarding.
“It makes you feel good about the day, so I can imagine why the volunteers keep doing it year after year,” she said. “I enjoy getting out and seeing what our volunteers are doing.”
O’Grady made special mention of thanking Diana Sweets Restaurant for preparing meals to be delivered five days a week.
“They’ve been excellent to work with in the last year and a half that they’ve been providing meals to the program,” she said. “They’re definitely a very community-oriented establishment.”
The Meals on Wheels program for North Perth has the capacity to serve more people, O’Grady said, and while it’s primarily used by seniors, it can be accessed by other residents.
“It’s certainly utilized by people who are maybe convalescing after surgery or illness,” she said. “Generally, people who are having difficulty meeting their nutritional needs for some reason.”
Additional volunteers are always appreciated to help deliver meals, O’Grady said, and can speak to coordinator Jay Bodrog at 519-291-5898 to apply.
“A number of our current volunteers are older,” O’Grady said. “We are looking at having to replace some of the older volunteers that have done it a long time.”