West Kelowna  

92-year-old still delivering Meals on Wheels to West Kelowna

92-year-old delivery driver

West Kelowna resident Ray Bartlett isn’t letting age stop him from getting out and about to help others, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

The 92-year-old has been delivering Meals on Wheels for 28 years, most recently to residents in West Kelowna and Peachland.

Some of those residents he's been delivering to for the past 15 years, says Bartlett. 

Bartlett started volunteering with his wife to deliver Meals on Wheels after retiring from a successful sales career in the automotive industry, inspired by family members who were already involved in the organization.

"It was probably 1993. My uncle and aunt were making up the meals at the hospital and they said "we need some drivers, why don’t you come down and drive for us now that you're retired?" I said, ok, I'll give it a try, so that’s when we started. They had been doing it for 25 years themselves."

When his wife passed away 10 years ago, Bartlett continued to deliver meals in West Kelowna, and is now the longest serving volunteer.

"After that I just kept on going, got to keep busy ... it's important to keep busy. At my age a lot of people stop working but I couldn't do it. I'll do this as long as I can."

Bartlett volunteers his time on Tuesdays and Saturdays every week, and says despite having some difficulty with his hips, he feels lucky to have his health in such good condition for his age. 

The opportunity to visit the people he delivers food to on a weekly basis is his favourite part of the job, and many of them are regulars he has built friendships with. 

"I enjoy the people that appreciate it. They all appreciate it, and they tell me about it. If I’m not there to do the job, they’d really be upset about it.

"It’s the people that make the difference. They can’t get out, they can’t drive so somebody has to do it, and I feel like I can do it. By golly, I’m fortunate enough to have my health to do it and I’ll keep on doing it." 

Meals on Wheels Kelowna says it is very proud of the committed and brave volunteers like Bartlett who are persevering during this challenging time.

"We cannot say enough about them. We always knew we had the best volunteers, but we are even further grateful and appreciative of their love and caring for humanity," read a Facebook post from the organization. 

The organization is continuing to provide service to those who need it in Kelowna and West Kelowna during the COVID-19 crisis. For more information, visit the Meals on Wheels Kelowna Facebook page, or to sign up as a volunteer, fill in the application form on the website.

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