Dundas volunteers helping local seniors deal with coronavirus pandemic

News Apr 23, 2020 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

Laura Munger started as a volunteer driver, then also became a friendly visitor for seniors through Dundas Community Services.

Jan Willem delivers frozen meals to a growing number of Dundas seniors for DCS, helping keep local seniors fed.

Munger and Willem are examples of Dundas residents stepping up when seniors in their community need them most.

According to 2016 Statistics Canada data, more than 6,000 people over the age of 65 live in Dundas — approximately 24 per cent of the Valley Town’s total population. They must stay home and isolated during the pandemic.

Now more than ever, Dundas Community Services volunteers are helping local seniors

“Volunteer driving has been severely curtailed during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Munger said. “Many clients have had their medical appointments cancelled and are not going out to do grocery shopping or banking in person.

“I have instead made myself available to do grocery shopping and delivery when needed.”

Munger met a senior friend weekly, for coffee, to visit a greenhouse, or other activity.

“Sadly, at present she is not permitted to leave the property and is pretty much confined to her room except for meals,” Munger said. “I do try to give her a call every few days to check in and see if she needs anything. I drop by her care home with coffee, some treats or books for her. She has my number if she needs me. This situation has been particularly difficult on people in her situation, with no family or friends close by.”

Munger said she enjoys her time with all the senior clients and loves hearing their stories.

“I have one client well into her 90s who has me in stitches when I drive her,” Munger said. “She is a firecracker, constantly cracking jokes and poking fun at herself.

“I’ve driven clients whose tales would curl your toes ... such tough lives and losses ... others whose travel and life experiences I envy.”

She called herself a "bit of chatterbox" who is not shy about asking lots of questions.

“I lost my own parents very suddenly 10 years ago and being of service to these folks gives me a great sense of connection and purpose,” Munger said. “I feel privileged to have them share their lives with me.”

Jan Willem immigrated to Canada in 2008. After becoming a Canadian citizen, he joined Meals on Wheels last summer, delivering meals once a week. When frozen meals were added in the fall, he delivered those once a week too.

With lockdown of Wentworth Lodge, where hot food for Meals on Wheels was prepared, those deliveries stopped. Frozen meal deliveries have grown considerably, from 10 to 15 clients every Wednesday to almost 30.

“It is a fulfilling thing to do for me, but a necessary one for the people we serve,” Willem said.

He used to go in to Dundas Community Services’ office around 10:30 a.m. every Wednesday to sort and package frozen meals, then deliver two-thirds of them while the rest were picked up by clients.

Now the DCS office is closed, but executive director Jane Allen opens it Wednesday mornings so Willem can sort and package meals.

That process takes longer now, but he said volunteer Ann Ruch helps him with deliveries.

“I have to start much earlier, before 9:30 a.m., to get it all done,” Willem said. “We do need a few extra volunteers for the frozen meal program as it is likely to expand even further.”

He said Meals on Wheels was essential for many elderly people in Dundas, and although frozen meals may be a bit more cumbersome than hot meals, requiring microwaving, the program provides at least one nourishing meal a day which might otherwise not be there.

“Getting groceries is already a problem for most, although those may be delivered with the help of neighbours or family, but then there is still the cooking to be done,” Willem said. “Many of our clients have mobility issues or other health problems which make it hard to prepare a nourishing and satisfying meal.”

Other things come up, sometimes, and it's not always easy.

“A lady lost her husband of over 50 years and her two cats in the same month,” Willem said. “There is not much we can do, unfortunately, but lend a sympathetic ear.

“We do not only bring food, but also a bit of human contact.”

DCS executive director Jane Allen said residents stepped up to the plate to deliver groceries and make friendly calls to seniors.

“These generous Dundas residents have been calling and leaving messages that they want to give back to the community,” Allen said. “This is a very special time to thank our volunteers. There are not enough words to describe how amazed and grateful we are for the dedication, compassion and generosity of not only our own volunteers but the community during these difficult times.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Seniors make up nearly a quarter of Dundas’ population, and are among the most at risk from COVID-19. We wanted to learn about those who are stepping up to help seniors in their community.

 

Dundas volunteers helping local seniors deal with coronavirus pandemic

#keepseniorssafe

News Apr 23, 2020 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

Laura Munger started as a volunteer driver, then also became a friendly visitor for seniors through Dundas Community Services.

Jan Willem delivers frozen meals to a growing number of Dundas seniors for DCS, helping keep local seniors fed.

Munger and Willem are examples of Dundas residents stepping up when seniors in their community need them most.

According to 2016 Statistics Canada data, more than 6,000 people over the age of 65 live in Dundas — approximately 24 per cent of the Valley Town’s total population. They must stay home and isolated during the pandemic.

Related Content

Now more than ever, Dundas Community Services volunteers are helping local seniors

“Volunteer driving has been severely curtailed during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Munger said. “Many clients have had their medical appointments cancelled and are not going out to do grocery shopping or banking in person.

“I have instead made myself available to do grocery shopping and delivery when needed.”

Munger met a senior friend weekly, for coffee, to visit a greenhouse, or other activity.

“Sadly, at present she is not permitted to leave the property and is pretty much confined to her room except for meals,” Munger said. “I do try to give her a call every few days to check in and see if she needs anything. I drop by her care home with coffee, some treats or books for her. She has my number if she needs me. This situation has been particularly difficult on people in her situation, with no family or friends close by.”

Munger said she enjoys her time with all the senior clients and loves hearing their stories.

“I have one client well into her 90s who has me in stitches when I drive her,” Munger said. “She is a firecracker, constantly cracking jokes and poking fun at herself.

“I’ve driven clients whose tales would curl your toes ... such tough lives and losses ... others whose travel and life experiences I envy.”

She called herself a "bit of chatterbox" who is not shy about asking lots of questions.

“I lost my own parents very suddenly 10 years ago and being of service to these folks gives me a great sense of connection and purpose,” Munger said. “I feel privileged to have them share their lives with me.”

Jan Willem immigrated to Canada in 2008. After becoming a Canadian citizen, he joined Meals on Wheels last summer, delivering meals once a week. When frozen meals were added in the fall, he delivered those once a week too.

With lockdown of Wentworth Lodge, where hot food for Meals on Wheels was prepared, those deliveries stopped. Frozen meal deliveries have grown considerably, from 10 to 15 clients every Wednesday to almost 30.

“It is a fulfilling thing to do for me, but a necessary one for the people we serve,” Willem said.

He used to go in to Dundas Community Services’ office around 10:30 a.m. every Wednesday to sort and package frozen meals, then deliver two-thirds of them while the rest were picked up by clients.

Now the DCS office is closed, but executive director Jane Allen opens it Wednesday mornings so Willem can sort and package meals.

That process takes longer now, but he said volunteer Ann Ruch helps him with deliveries.

“I have to start much earlier, before 9:30 a.m., to get it all done,” Willem said. “We do need a few extra volunteers for the frozen meal program as it is likely to expand even further.”

He said Meals on Wheels was essential for many elderly people in Dundas, and although frozen meals may be a bit more cumbersome than hot meals, requiring microwaving, the program provides at least one nourishing meal a day which might otherwise not be there.

“Getting groceries is already a problem for most, although those may be delivered with the help of neighbours or family, but then there is still the cooking to be done,” Willem said. “Many of our clients have mobility issues or other health problems which make it hard to prepare a nourishing and satisfying meal.”

Other things come up, sometimes, and it's not always easy.

“A lady lost her husband of over 50 years and her two cats in the same month,” Willem said. “There is not much we can do, unfortunately, but lend a sympathetic ear.

“We do not only bring food, but also a bit of human contact.”

DCS executive director Jane Allen said residents stepped up to the plate to deliver groceries and make friendly calls to seniors.

“These generous Dundas residents have been calling and leaving messages that they want to give back to the community,” Allen said. “This is a very special time to thank our volunteers. There are not enough words to describe how amazed and grateful we are for the dedication, compassion and generosity of not only our own volunteers but the community during these difficult times.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Seniors make up nearly a quarter of Dundas’ population, and are among the most at risk from COVID-19. We wanted to learn about those who are stepping up to help seniors in their community.

 

Dundas volunteers helping local seniors deal with coronavirus pandemic

#keepseniorssafe

News Apr 23, 2020 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

Laura Munger started as a volunteer driver, then also became a friendly visitor for seniors through Dundas Community Services.

Jan Willem delivers frozen meals to a growing number of Dundas seniors for DCS, helping keep local seniors fed.

Munger and Willem are examples of Dundas residents stepping up when seniors in their community need them most.

According to 2016 Statistics Canada data, more than 6,000 people over the age of 65 live in Dundas — approximately 24 per cent of the Valley Town’s total population. They must stay home and isolated during the pandemic.

Related Content

Now more than ever, Dundas Community Services volunteers are helping local seniors

“Volunteer driving has been severely curtailed during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Munger said. “Many clients have had their medical appointments cancelled and are not going out to do grocery shopping or banking in person.

“I have instead made myself available to do grocery shopping and delivery when needed.”

Munger met a senior friend weekly, for coffee, to visit a greenhouse, or other activity.

“Sadly, at present she is not permitted to leave the property and is pretty much confined to her room except for meals,” Munger said. “I do try to give her a call every few days to check in and see if she needs anything. I drop by her care home with coffee, some treats or books for her. She has my number if she needs me. This situation has been particularly difficult on people in her situation, with no family or friends close by.”

Munger said she enjoys her time with all the senior clients and loves hearing their stories.

“I have one client well into her 90s who has me in stitches when I drive her,” Munger said. “She is a firecracker, constantly cracking jokes and poking fun at herself.

“I’ve driven clients whose tales would curl your toes ... such tough lives and losses ... others whose travel and life experiences I envy.”

She called herself a "bit of chatterbox" who is not shy about asking lots of questions.

“I lost my own parents very suddenly 10 years ago and being of service to these folks gives me a great sense of connection and purpose,” Munger said. “I feel privileged to have them share their lives with me.”

Jan Willem immigrated to Canada in 2008. After becoming a Canadian citizen, he joined Meals on Wheels last summer, delivering meals once a week. When frozen meals were added in the fall, he delivered those once a week too.

With lockdown of Wentworth Lodge, where hot food for Meals on Wheels was prepared, those deliveries stopped. Frozen meal deliveries have grown considerably, from 10 to 15 clients every Wednesday to almost 30.

“It is a fulfilling thing to do for me, but a necessary one for the people we serve,” Willem said.

He used to go in to Dundas Community Services’ office around 10:30 a.m. every Wednesday to sort and package frozen meals, then deliver two-thirds of them while the rest were picked up by clients.

Now the DCS office is closed, but executive director Jane Allen opens it Wednesday mornings so Willem can sort and package meals.

That process takes longer now, but he said volunteer Ann Ruch helps him with deliveries.

“I have to start much earlier, before 9:30 a.m., to get it all done,” Willem said. “We do need a few extra volunteers for the frozen meal program as it is likely to expand even further.”

He said Meals on Wheels was essential for many elderly people in Dundas, and although frozen meals may be a bit more cumbersome than hot meals, requiring microwaving, the program provides at least one nourishing meal a day which might otherwise not be there.

“Getting groceries is already a problem for most, although those may be delivered with the help of neighbours or family, but then there is still the cooking to be done,” Willem said. “Many of our clients have mobility issues or other health problems which make it hard to prepare a nourishing and satisfying meal.”

Other things come up, sometimes, and it's not always easy.

“A lady lost her husband of over 50 years and her two cats in the same month,” Willem said. “There is not much we can do, unfortunately, but lend a sympathetic ear.

“We do not only bring food, but also a bit of human contact.”

DCS executive director Jane Allen said residents stepped up to the plate to deliver groceries and make friendly calls to seniors.

“These generous Dundas residents have been calling and leaving messages that they want to give back to the community,” Allen said. “This is a very special time to thank our volunteers. There are not enough words to describe how amazed and grateful we are for the dedication, compassion and generosity of not only our own volunteers but the community during these difficult times.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Seniors make up nearly a quarter of Dundas’ population, and are among the most at risk from COVID-19. We wanted to learn about those who are stepping up to help seniors in their community.