TELUS is sharing the love throughout the month of February by celebrating stories of local champions and volunteer heroes.
TELUS is Canada's largest health IT company, providing critical services for Canadians, including seniors who have been particularly impacted during the global pandemic. When the company heard about Ray Bartlett, a 93-year-old volunteer for Kelowna Meals on Wheels for the past 30 years, it wanted to share his story as the epitome of its social purpose philosophy: Give Where We Live.
At Meals on Wheels, some of the volunteers work full time, while others are retired, like Bartlett. Using their own vehicles to deliver daily, the local team of more than 70 volunteers brings meals to seniors across Kelowna, West Kelowna and Peachland. Volunteers give their time, anywhere from one day a week to multiple days, and they get to know the clients like friends—a trusted face that delivers both a nourishing meal and a friendly check-in.
Having moved to Kelowna in the 80s, it was Bartlett’s uncle who asked him if he could find some time to deliver meals in the early 90s. Despite taking time to recuperate from a recent hip surgery, Bartlett is itching to get back to his routine of delivering meals twice a week. Today, Bartlett is getting calls from his clients asking him how he is doing and when they will see him again. All being well, Bartlett says he expects to be on the road delivering meals by March.
Meals on Wheels manager Marion Bremner jokes that she tells volunteers that “by joining our team they are making a lifelong commitment, and I think they believe it.”
“It’s so important that we rally to support our aging Canadians along with recognizing volunteers like Ray,” TELUS regional market manager Sandi Kowalyshyn says. “Meals on Wheels is doing an amazing job of helping to nourish and care for so many people here in the Kelowna community. As someone whose own parents needed support as they got older, I am proud and reassured to know that TELUS is providing critical health services like TELUS Health’s LivingWell Companion to our loved ones, especially when we, as adult children, can’t always be there to help.”
Of course Bartlett isn’t alone in deserving recognition. He’s in good company with Donalyn Rilling, who has volunteered for 19 years and delivers meals regardless of the weather. Meanwhile, Dave McCoubrey has donated his time to the organization over the last six years and most recently even jumped in to offer his help, along with his brother, to move Bremner’s office to her home so she could keep Meals on Wheels running smoothly despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
TELUS is proud to recognize the entire Meals on Wheels team and its continued commitment to the community. Joining Bremner in celebrating these amazing volunteers, TELUS is providing both Rilling and McCoubrey $50 VISA gift cards and will be offering the LivingWell Companion service to Bartlett at no cost in recognition of his years of service, giving him and his family peace of mind as he stays active delivering meals to his dearly missed clients.