Ancaster Community Service offers needed programs to seniors during pandemic

Community Apr 22, 2020 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

As the novel coronavirus pandemic sweeps across Ancaster, Ancaster Community Services (ACS) and its dedicated volunteers continue to help the most vulnerable members of the community.

Melanie Barlow, executive director of ACS, has introduced another way to help individuals, in this case vulnerable seniors. It’s a pilot program called Shopping 4 Seniors, where volunteers purchase groceries for those people who are unable to leave their homes and don’t have a family member that can shop for them.

“It’s for seniors who have no other supports,” said Barlow. “I was hoping to kick it off this week (April 20)."

So far, about 10 clients have registered for the service, which will be funded through a United Way contribution. The program will assist other senior-centred programs that have been successfully established by ACS.

Since March, the organization has continued to provide vital food to over 90 clients through its Meals on Wheels program, delivered by intrepid volunteers. The organization also provides frozen meals, which are becoming more popular since seniors can put them away and save them.

Barlow saw the potential impact the pandemic would have on the Meals on Wheels delivery service. She organized volunteers who wanted to continue providing the service; she established a contactless process where at no point is the food ever touched; and she provided a safe environment for volunteers and seniors alike to get the food to individuals. She provided gloves and masks to the estimated 130 volunteers; items are constantly being wiped and sprayed, and there is no entry into the homes where deliveries are made. The cooler bags from Longo’s that the food is in are left outside residents’ doors.

Jan Vallentin, a volunteer with Meals on Wheels for 18 years, says the people who receive the meals are “so grateful” for the service.

“Melanie really takes care of the clients and the volunteers,” said Vallentin, who lives in Ancaster.

She had been wary of making the deliveries, but with the contactless service, at no point is the food or the volunteer interacting with the client.

“We are keeping our distance,” she said.

Vallentin says the rest of Hamilton doesn’t think there is poverty or that people are in need in Ancaster.

“They call us Hollywood. They all believe we live in big houses. But there are people here who need help,” she said.

Lynn Norris, an Ancaster resident who has been volunteering for the Meals on Wheel program for about 18 months, said the entire service has been “well executed” for both volunteers and clients.

“The service is important for our vulnerable seniors who don’t have a family member,” she said.

Norris said she has about eight clients that she delivers her food to.

“I feel it was put together well,” she said, applauding the contactless delivery process. “It is really important to offer the Meals on Wheels service, but also to make sure we take precautions. I feel really comfortable in the program.”

As volunteers arrive at the Municipal Service Centre on a mid-Tuesday morning, Barlow, wearing a mask, is near a movable stand with the food ready to be picked up and loaded into vehicles, chatting with volunteers Sue and Andy Kalbfleisch. The hot food is prepared by Lunch Lady, a franchise business located in the Ancaster Business Park.

After some bantering, the Kalbfleischs pick up their food containers and quickly place them in their vehicle before leaving the centre.

“It has been going very well,” said Barlow. “There is a nice partnership between clients and volunteers.”

Meals on Wheels did deliver to Wentworth Lodge in Dundas, but when one staff person tested positive for the virus, the service was cancelled. The city has declared the outbreak at the lodge over. Vallentin was relieved that there were no further deliveries being made to Wentworth when the outbreak happened.

Barlow said some volunteers were nervous about delivering the meals, but when the new protocol was introduced, the majority of them were relieved. But there were some volunteers who decided to stop making deliveries for the moment.

“I totally understood,” said Barlow. “They have family members they wanted to help, and they wanted to be safe.”

Barlow said that not only is the Meals on Wheels program a necessity for the clients, but it is also vital for the interaction the clients have with volunteers. Since seniors are more isolated than ever during the health crisis, they appreciate even more the opportunity to connect with volunteers and staff, said Barlow.

“They just want to talk,” she said.

Volunteers also perform a service by checking up on a client when they make a delivery, “just to see how they are doing,” said Barlow.

Barlow urges people to call ACS if they need some help.

“We are not here to judge,” she said. “We know people are facing real challenges right now. The stress out there right now is unbelievable.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: With social service agencies facing new challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, we wanted to find out how Ancaster Community Services is providing essential services to older adults.

 

Ancaster Community Services' Meals on Wheels program keeps rolling along during coronavirus pandemic

#keepseniorssafe

Community Apr 22, 2020 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

As the novel coronavirus pandemic sweeps across Ancaster, Ancaster Community Services (ACS) and its dedicated volunteers continue to help the most vulnerable members of the community.

Melanie Barlow, executive director of ACS, has introduced another way to help individuals, in this case vulnerable seniors. It’s a pilot program called Shopping 4 Seniors, where volunteers purchase groceries for those people who are unable to leave their homes and don’t have a family member that can shop for them.

“It’s for seniors who have no other supports,” said Barlow. “I was hoping to kick it off this week (April 20)."

So far, about 10 clients have registered for the service, which will be funded through a United Way contribution. The program will assist other senior-centred programs that have been successfully established by ACS.

Related Content

Since March, the organization has continued to provide vital food to over 90 clients through its Meals on Wheels program, delivered by intrepid volunteers. The organization also provides frozen meals, which are becoming more popular since seniors can put them away and save them.

Barlow saw the potential impact the pandemic would have on the Meals on Wheels delivery service. She organized volunteers who wanted to continue providing the service; she established a contactless process where at no point is the food ever touched; and she provided a safe environment for volunteers and seniors alike to get the food to individuals. She provided gloves and masks to the estimated 130 volunteers; items are constantly being wiped and sprayed, and there is no entry into the homes where deliveries are made. The cooler bags from Longo’s that the food is in are left outside residents’ doors.

Jan Vallentin, a volunteer with Meals on Wheels for 18 years, says the people who receive the meals are “so grateful” for the service.

“Melanie really takes care of the clients and the volunteers,” said Vallentin, who lives in Ancaster.

She had been wary of making the deliveries, but with the contactless service, at no point is the food or the volunteer interacting with the client.

“We are keeping our distance,” she said.

Vallentin says the rest of Hamilton doesn’t think there is poverty or that people are in need in Ancaster.

“They call us Hollywood. They all believe we live in big houses. But there are people here who need help,” she said.

Lynn Norris, an Ancaster resident who has been volunteering for the Meals on Wheel program for about 18 months, said the entire service has been “well executed” for both volunteers and clients.

“The service is important for our vulnerable seniors who don’t have a family member,” she said.

Norris said she has about eight clients that she delivers her food to.

“I feel it was put together well,” she said, applauding the contactless delivery process. “It is really important to offer the Meals on Wheels service, but also to make sure we take precautions. I feel really comfortable in the program.”

As volunteers arrive at the Municipal Service Centre on a mid-Tuesday morning, Barlow, wearing a mask, is near a movable stand with the food ready to be picked up and loaded into vehicles, chatting with volunteers Sue and Andy Kalbfleisch. The hot food is prepared by Lunch Lady, a franchise business located in the Ancaster Business Park.

After some bantering, the Kalbfleischs pick up their food containers and quickly place them in their vehicle before leaving the centre.

“It has been going very well,” said Barlow. “There is a nice partnership between clients and volunteers.”

Meals on Wheels did deliver to Wentworth Lodge in Dundas, but when one staff person tested positive for the virus, the service was cancelled. The city has declared the outbreak at the lodge over. Vallentin was relieved that there were no further deliveries being made to Wentworth when the outbreak happened.

Barlow said some volunteers were nervous about delivering the meals, but when the new protocol was introduced, the majority of them were relieved. But there were some volunteers who decided to stop making deliveries for the moment.

“I totally understood,” said Barlow. “They have family members they wanted to help, and they wanted to be safe.”

Barlow said that not only is the Meals on Wheels program a necessity for the clients, but it is also vital for the interaction the clients have with volunteers. Since seniors are more isolated than ever during the health crisis, they appreciate even more the opportunity to connect with volunteers and staff, said Barlow.

“They just want to talk,” she said.

Volunteers also perform a service by checking up on a client when they make a delivery, “just to see how they are doing,” said Barlow.

Barlow urges people to call ACS if they need some help.

“We are not here to judge,” she said. “We know people are facing real challenges right now. The stress out there right now is unbelievable.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: With social service agencies facing new challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, we wanted to find out how Ancaster Community Services is providing essential services to older adults.

 

Ancaster Community Services' Meals on Wheels program keeps rolling along during coronavirus pandemic

#keepseniorssafe

Community Apr 22, 2020 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

As the novel coronavirus pandemic sweeps across Ancaster, Ancaster Community Services (ACS) and its dedicated volunteers continue to help the most vulnerable members of the community.

Melanie Barlow, executive director of ACS, has introduced another way to help individuals, in this case vulnerable seniors. It’s a pilot program called Shopping 4 Seniors, where volunteers purchase groceries for those people who are unable to leave their homes and don’t have a family member that can shop for them.

“It’s for seniors who have no other supports,” said Barlow. “I was hoping to kick it off this week (April 20)."

So far, about 10 clients have registered for the service, which will be funded through a United Way contribution. The program will assist other senior-centred programs that have been successfully established by ACS.

Related Content

Since March, the organization has continued to provide vital food to over 90 clients through its Meals on Wheels program, delivered by intrepid volunteers. The organization also provides frozen meals, which are becoming more popular since seniors can put them away and save them.

Barlow saw the potential impact the pandemic would have on the Meals on Wheels delivery service. She organized volunteers who wanted to continue providing the service; she established a contactless process where at no point is the food ever touched; and she provided a safe environment for volunteers and seniors alike to get the food to individuals. She provided gloves and masks to the estimated 130 volunteers; items are constantly being wiped and sprayed, and there is no entry into the homes where deliveries are made. The cooler bags from Longo’s that the food is in are left outside residents’ doors.

Jan Vallentin, a volunteer with Meals on Wheels for 18 years, says the people who receive the meals are “so grateful” for the service.

“Melanie really takes care of the clients and the volunteers,” said Vallentin, who lives in Ancaster.

She had been wary of making the deliveries, but with the contactless service, at no point is the food or the volunteer interacting with the client.

“We are keeping our distance,” she said.

Vallentin says the rest of Hamilton doesn’t think there is poverty or that people are in need in Ancaster.

“They call us Hollywood. They all believe we live in big houses. But there are people here who need help,” she said.

Lynn Norris, an Ancaster resident who has been volunteering for the Meals on Wheel program for about 18 months, said the entire service has been “well executed” for both volunteers and clients.

“The service is important for our vulnerable seniors who don’t have a family member,” she said.

Norris said she has about eight clients that she delivers her food to.

“I feel it was put together well,” she said, applauding the contactless delivery process. “It is really important to offer the Meals on Wheels service, but also to make sure we take precautions. I feel really comfortable in the program.”

As volunteers arrive at the Municipal Service Centre on a mid-Tuesday morning, Barlow, wearing a mask, is near a movable stand with the food ready to be picked up and loaded into vehicles, chatting with volunteers Sue and Andy Kalbfleisch. The hot food is prepared by Lunch Lady, a franchise business located in the Ancaster Business Park.

After some bantering, the Kalbfleischs pick up their food containers and quickly place them in their vehicle before leaving the centre.

“It has been going very well,” said Barlow. “There is a nice partnership between clients and volunteers.”

Meals on Wheels did deliver to Wentworth Lodge in Dundas, but when one staff person tested positive for the virus, the service was cancelled. The city has declared the outbreak at the lodge over. Vallentin was relieved that there were no further deliveries being made to Wentworth when the outbreak happened.

Barlow said some volunteers were nervous about delivering the meals, but when the new protocol was introduced, the majority of them were relieved. But there were some volunteers who decided to stop making deliveries for the moment.

“I totally understood,” said Barlow. “They have family members they wanted to help, and they wanted to be safe.”

Barlow said that not only is the Meals on Wheels program a necessity for the clients, but it is also vital for the interaction the clients have with volunteers. Since seniors are more isolated than ever during the health crisis, they appreciate even more the opportunity to connect with volunteers and staff, said Barlow.

“They just want to talk,” she said.

Volunteers also perform a service by checking up on a client when they make a delivery, “just to see how they are doing,” said Barlow.

Barlow urges people to call ACS if they need some help.

“We are not here to judge,” she said. “We know people are facing real challenges right now. The stress out there right now is unbelievable.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: With social service agencies facing new challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, we wanted to find out how Ancaster Community Services is providing essential services to older adults.