Here’s how you can sponsor a senior in the Brockville area

The popular Meals on Wheels program has seen a recent surge in demand in the Leeds and Grenville region, and a new campaign will begin in March to help sponsor seniors who rely on the service.

Brockville resident Ed McQuade, 85, has been using the service for four years, and orders four frozen meals every two weeks.

“I just like to have the Meals on Wheels to be a backup if you’re a little tired,” he told CTV News. “You don’t feel like making supper, it’s easy-peasy. You put it in the microwave or in the oven and you’re good to go.”

His favourite frozen entree is the roast beef and gravy, but he’s also tried many of the 40 options on the menu.

“More and more people are trying to keep the seniors in their homes or apartments as long as possible and this is something that helps meet that goal,” McQuade said.

The program is offered by Senior Support Services / CPHC in Leeds and Grenville, a not-for profit that strives to help seniors live independently in their home and community.

March for Meals, a national campaign in it’s 21st year, begins March 1 and coinciding with it, CPHC is starting a new fundraising campaign for the month called Sponsor a Senior, to help get more meals to seniors that need them.

“With our campaign we’re hoping to sponsor 400 seniors and every $50 that we raise sponsors a senior for a week of meals,” said Sarah Dodgson of CPHC.

The Meals on Wheels program has seen a 93 per cent increase in the amount of meals provided in Leeds and Grenville since 2019, meaning more and more seniors are relying on the program.

“Pre-COVID, in between our hot and frozen meals in the year 2019-2020, we gave out about 46,000 meals in total,” Dodgson said. “This past year we’ve given out over 87,000, so there has definitely been a big jump.”

“Throughout the pandemic we saw seniors that didn’t want to go to the grocery store as frequently, so they started to turn to our services,” said Dodgson. “And then in terms of the subsidy, it’s really the rising cost of living that’s making it more challenging.

“If they aren’t able to cover the costs of the meals, then they do apply for subsidy within our organization and we help them cover that cost,” she said.

While the McQuades can afford to use the program in which their meals cost $5.50, Ed agrees many other seniors can’t, and this new campaign will help close that gap.

“It’s a very good offer that CPHC has and I hope that people realize the importance of it in keeping seniors in their homes,” he said. “It’s just worthwhile and I hope that somebody, each person, could give them some support.”

“You get a menu from CPHC that has about 40 different items on it, Chinese food, seafood, roast beef and it’s terrific menu,” McQuade added. “Very affordable and very good meals.”

Volunteers deliver the meals and it the delivery also works as a line of communication for the seniors who use it, according to Dodgson.

“They really serve as a wellness check for our clients as well for them to touch base with somebody throughout the day and also just to make sure they are doing okay,” she said.

“The seniors are living at their home and they want to remain living at their home so getting meals delivered is such a crucial part of that.”

For those who donate, CPHC will be giving away weekly prizes thanks to community sponsors, including Ottawa Senators tickets, passes to Nordic Spa and car detailing from 1000 Island Toyota.

“Our goal is 400, but if we surpass that that would be even better,” smiled Dodgson.

The Sponsor a Senior campaign begins March 1 and runs until March 31, with all the details found on the CPHC website.

A poster for the Sponsor a Senior campaign in Leeds and Grenville (supplied)

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