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August '11

Community Support Connections  - Meals on Wheels and More

Dale Howatt

The story of Community Support Connection – Meals on Wheels and More is one of compassion, courage and commitment, of vision, integrity and sometime sheer


bloody-mindedness.  They are supported by 700 volunteers and 526 donors who provide 80,000 Meals on Wheels;  78,000 Care Coordination Calls and Visits;  57,000 hours of homemaking, home maintenance, yard work and snow removal;  16,000 rides to

medical appointments;  11,000 friendly visits and calls;  4,600 hours of community exercise; 2,000 community meals and over  1,000 crisis calls and visits.  The volunteer time given would amount to the equivalent of almost 35 full time positions.

The services offered by the organization are:

  • Meals on Wheels including frozen meals for evenings or weekends
  • Community Dining, providing seniors an opportunity to share a meal and have social interaction
  • Transportation and Shopping support
  • Volunteer drivers who may do shopping or act as an escort for a senior wanting to shop
  • Gentle exercise programs at 17 centres across Waterloo Region
  • Trained volunteer friendly visitors how provide companionship and friendship to seniors
  • Volunteer visitors to relieve family members of their caregiving roles
  • Telephone reassurance and security checks
  • Recruiting, screening and matching homemakers, home maintenance workers and snow buddies
  • A Crisis Program to help people deal with various issues related to the elderly
These services prevent more costly, premature entry into hospital or long term care facilities.  A few simple supports  allow people to live in the way they choose.  Half of the clients are over 80 and living independently in their own homes.  The main 3 reasons people turn to the organization are: physical limitations; nutritional concerns; and chronic illness.  Community Support Connections – Meals and Wheels and More resulted from 4 very small volunteer driven organizations joining together to form a stronger organization.  The organization is better able to make use of resources than they could have individually.