TELUS is sharing the love throughout the month of February by celebrating stories of local champions and volunteer heroes.
Kelowna resident Marion Bremner has supported the well-being of seniors and those in need for 20 years as manager of Meals on Wheels.
In all that time, she’s proud to say she’s never missed a delivery, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s not just about delivering hot meals each week, supporting people in Kelowna, West Kelowna, and Peachland. It’s also about having someone checking in and making real community connections.
The service is a vital lifeline for seniors who are especially vulnerable, face mobility and health issues, and can be quite isolated.
“For some people, volunteers delivering hot meals are their only contact during the day,” Bremner says.
But operating the non-profit has been even more challenging during COVID-19, and they’ve had to incur greater costs associated with things like gloves, cleaners, disinfectants, food packaging and storage.
It costs $10 per meal, including a soup, entrée, and dessert from local caterer Beets N’ Boos. This money goes directly to cover the price of the meals.
If someone can’t afford the service, Meals on Wheels has been subsidizing the cost for its clients in need out of its own modest budget.
“Being in your home is the safest place you can be during the pandemic. We try to make it easier for seniors and the people we serve,” Bremner says.
As the organization’s only full-time employee, Bremner has moved operations into her own home due to the pandemic. Her extensive list of duties includes registering clients, scheduling and training of about 75 volunteers, reporting to the board of directors, completing grant applications and banking. She’s involved in all of the day-to-day operations needed to ensure the timely delivery of about 340 hot meals, six days a week.
Bremner even gets work calls forwarded to her personal mobile phone and volunteers herself several hours a week.
“We are very frugal,” she says.
The pandemic has made operations so challenging, however, the organization has issued an emergency call for support on its website, mow-online.com: “Our clients are in the critical risk demographics for the COVID-19 pandemic and we must do everything right to ensure their protection.”
This week, TELUS announced a $3,000 donation to help support the Kelowna non-profit, part of its continued commitment to the community—and its Give Where We Live social purpose philosophy. This includes things like financial donations, volunteering and acts of giving to positively impact local communities.
“I am thrilled that we are able to support this vital local resource for Kelowna, and love that we are also working to keep seniors living independently and safely,” says Sandi Kowalyshyn, a regional market manager with TELUS. “I’m proud to work for a company that is committed not only to my own community, but also to the health of all Canadians.
"As the country’s largest health IT company, TELUS also provides valuable services such as its LivingWell Companion medical alert service and the Babylon by TELUS virtual care service."
Donations and support from TELUS and others help Meals on Wheels keep doing the work it does.
“Most of our volunteers are seniors and so are most of our customers,” Bremner says. “Donations and volunteers keep the program running."
To learn more about Meals on Wheels or to donate, visit mow-online.com.
To learn more information on the TELUS personal emergency response system, the LivingWell Companion, click here.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.