Meals on Wheels makes a difference – but it needs more help

Volunteers with True Davidson Meals on Wheels, operated by the Neighbourhood Group, are always looking for more volunteers to help deliver meal orders to clients. PHOTO: Josh Sherman

Ward 31 resident Helena Krasocka used to host dinner parties and cook for herself often—then health complications made it tougher and tougher to take care of herself.

“It got to the point that one summer I was living on toast and jam… tea and coffee, and I’d boil myself some eggs or I’d cook some pasta,” said Krasocka, who is legally blind and has mobility issues stemming from arthritis.

At the encouragement of a friend, she signed up for a local Meals on Wheels program when she was living in Mimico around 2010. “I even came to the realization that I had to change,” Krasocka admitted.

She’s kept using the service now that she lives near Main and Danforth, and True Davidson Meals On Wheels, operated by the Neighbourhood Group, is calling on volunteers to step forward to help deliver meal orders to clients like Krasocka.

“We are always looking for volunteers,” said Shumei Liang, office coordinator for True Davidson Meals on Wheels.

She noted the service, based out of 25 Waterman Ave, Suite 4, has around 70 volunteers but the turnover rate is high. Most volunteers are seniors, she explained.

Potential volunteers need to be available a minimum of one day per week, excluding Saturdays, when the service does not run, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To apply, those interested can drop by the True Davidson Meals on Wheels office and fill out an application.

“You can either be a driver or a runner,” Liang explained. While the former role requires a license, the latter role does not.

Runners ride along with motorists and are the ones who go from door to door dropping off warm and frozen meal orders to clients.

On a recent run one driver, Andrew, who asked not to use his last name for reasons of privacy, said his favourite part of helping out is working with his fellow volunteers. He has been volunteering with Meals on Wheels for seven years.

“I don’t know what the relationship between volunteering is and character or whatever you want to talk about, but there must be some relationship there,” said Andrew, who lends a hand to Meals on Wheels a few days a week. “I’ve met a lot of nice people.”

While he said he finds helping people out satisfying, he suggested the role isn’t for everyone. “Unless your heart and soul is at the bottom of it, you should think twice about it,” he said.

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