The organization had some hard adjustments after the coronavirus outbreak.
Throughout Surrey-North Delta Meals on Wheels 50 years of operation, the last two years have arguably been the most tumultuous.
They lost an annual grant worth $15,000 back in 2018. Then, last year, the organization was worried that they might have to cease operations after their food provider moved on. There was concern that they would no longer be operational by September 1st, 2019.
Thankfully, their food provider returned before September 1st, and Surrey-North Delta Meals on Wheels was able to remain operational.
If only that was the end of their problems. A shade over six months later, the coronavirus pandemic would throw a wrench into the daily operations of Surrey-North Delta Meals on Wheels once again.
Conquering COVID Through Funding & Hard Work
Surrey-North Delta Meals on Wheels, an organization that delivers food to seniors and those who are unable to cook and shop for themselves, did remain open following the onset of the pandemic after they were considered an essential service.
However, the mass amount of personal protective equipment that was needed, coupled with increased demand from those who were unable to leave their houses put a heavy burden on the organization to continue serving their clients.
That’s where the Surrey Community Relief Fund steps in.
The fund was developed to support organizations that help the most vulnerable people in the community. That fits the mantra for Surrey-North Delta Meals on Wheels, who largely serve seniors.
Since April, the SurreyCares Community Foundation has donated $21,000 to Surrey-North Delta Meals on Wheels through the Surrey Community Relief Fund.
“We’re extremely grateful for all the support we’ve received from SurreyCares, and we want to thank them for their extraordinary donations,” said Christine Morretin, administrator for the Surrey-North Delta Meals on Wheels.
In 2019, Surrey North-Delta Meals on Wheels delivered over 20,000 hot meals and bagged lunches for those in the community.
The grant money helped them continue to do so by giving the organization money for boxes to deliver meals so that Surrey-North Delta Meals on Wheels could adhere to Fraser Health guidelines while keeping their clients safe (and well-fed!).
They also used that money to buy personal protective equipment, gloves, masks, sanitizers, and cleaners.
“We actually had to hire a part-time person for four hours a day to keep up with all the cleaning that was needed,” Morretin said. “That person’s wages have been partially paid for by the grant from SurreyCares.”
In addition to donations from the Surrey Community Relief Fund, Surrey North-Delta Meals on Wheels were granted $60,000 by SurreyCares through the Government of Canada's Emergency Community Support Fund.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic has started, we have seen a rise in the number of people who require meals because they have to remain at home. The subsidy helps with the food that we are able to provide them, and it will last us until the end of March 2021.”
Catering to Clients Who Need Support
Not only does the Surrey-North Delta Meals on Wheels provide a valuable service for seniors in the community, but they have the ability to tailor their meals for those that have dietary restrictions.
“The kitchen can provide specialty meals for those who have medical issues or, really if they dislike or like something, we have meals for diabetes, pureed meals and minced meals, gluten and dairy-free meals,” Morretin told SurreyCares.
“We are supplying meals to those who cannot provide for themselves due to physical restrictions, monetary restrictions, immune-suppressed people, or anyone who has to remain at home during this time."
The organization continues to promote the fact that if you know someone who could benefit from this service, you should feel encouraged to reach out.
Volunteers Still Needed
While the donations that Surrey-North Delta Meals on Wheels has received will aide them and their clients for the foreseeable future, one of their biggest areas of concern is the number of volunteers helping out.
They did receive extra help from those who were working less because of the pandemic, but more assistance is still needed.
“The Meals on Wheels is volunteer-based,” Morretin said. “We require volunteers to make this program run. We’re always wanting volunteers.”
If you’re interested in volunteering for Surrey-North Delta Meals on Wheels, learn more by visiting their website, https://www.sndmow.com/.