By Rana Nelson
April 12-18 is National Volunteer Week. This year’s theme is ‘The Ripple Effect,’ and Sandra Dryden’s pebble has created ripples through the pond of generations.
A casual cook at Moberly Manor, Sandra has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer driver for many years. Her granddaughter, Maddy Dyck, has been accompanying her for the last two years to take the meals in to the clients. I went along with Sandra and Maddy one Friday on their route.
Meals on Wheels is a valuable program for people with developmental or physical disabilities and those who are injured or chronically ill. “If they don’t cook, they don’t eat,” says Sandra. And as many recipients aren’t able to get out often, the meal drop-offs are also an opportunity for a quick visit with a friendly face.
The meals are prepared at Moberly Manor by cook Linda Bruder and staff, and is the same meal that is served to Moberly’s residents that day – only portable. Meals typically consist of a protein, a vegetable, and a dessert, and on Fridays clients receive a muffin or two to carry them over into the weekend. Up to 30 Revelstokians receive Meals on Wheels three times per week.
I asked Maddy how she got involved. “I had to do 30 hours for Grad Transitions [which provides four credits towards graduation with proof of volunteer or paid work] and my grandma suggested Meals on Wheels. And then I got a paid job, but I kept doing this. I like the visiting.”
Robert Parker, a member of a long-time Revelstoke family, has been receiving meals for several years. “It’s a great asset for me. I get different foods that I wouldn’t normally cook myself. And it helps me remember to take my medication, which makes my doctor and my mother smile.” Parker also appreciates the social aspect of the meal drop-offs. As we left, he called to Dryden, “Thank you for bringing these beautiful ladies around!”
Although many Meals on Wheels recipients have care aides or family to check in on them, the volunteers can also bring problems to staff’s attention. If someone is ill or there is a sanitation issue, those concerns can be flagged. One elderly recipient’s apartment was desperately in need of cleaning, and Dryden feels that Revelstoke needs more seniors’ homes, as some clients could certainly benefit from assisted living.
As I observed, the biggest impact Meals on Wheels volunteers make is bringing a spark of joy to someone’s life. Martin Berghi, a client who was waiting for us at the door to his apartment building, said smiling, “Friday is the best day!”
Create your own ripple effect: Meals on Wheels is desperately in need of regular and casual drivers on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 4pm to 530 pm. Drivers who volunteer at least four times per month receive a $20 gas card to offset their costs. Contact Moberly Manor at 250.837.3147 or firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.