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Making a difference with community care

Community Care Durham says they are always looking for volunteers for a number of different positions including drivers, friendly visits or telephone check-ins, respite, specialty geriatrics and mental health services programs. (Photo by Dave Flaherty)

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

On the surface, it may seem like the simple delivery of a weekly meal, but for some, it can be their only communication with the outside world on a given day.

Every week, approximately 350 hot meals and 200 frozen meals are delivered throughout Oshawa from Community Care Durham’s Meals on Wheels program.

Sally Barrie, director of home support for Community Care Durham, says the program isn’t just about the food.

“It’s a daily check-in for the client and it may be the only person they speak to face-to-face all day,” Barrie says.

The clientele of the Meals on Wheels program represents various demographics.

“We have a certain number of clients who rely on the convenience, some have health issues, while others simply cannot prepare their own meals,” Barrie says.

Some clients have used the program for years, while for others it is a short-term situation.

Of course, the program wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers who give their time to deliver meals.

There are approximately 2,000 volunteers within the Meals on Wheels program, 328 specifically in Oshawa.

“We are always looking for volunteers, and certainly [Meals on Wheels] is one area that people are attracted to,” Barrie says.

The main purpose of volunteering is delivering meals to clients and Barrie says there is no minimum or maximum requirements to how often someone can participate.

“Whether people can drive a couple days a week or a couple days a month, that is something we definitely welcome,” she says.

Ted and Irene Warren have been delivering Meals on Wheels to local residents every Thursday for the past four years.

Irene says they heard about the need for volunteers through their church.

Both retired, the Warrens say it affords them an opportunity to give back to the community and meet new people.

There are a number of other volunteering opportunities with Community Care Durham.

Barrie says they “can never have enough drivers” to help clients get to their medical appointments, running errands and other trips.

“We are looking for volunteers who are willing to go where our clients need,” Barrie says.

“We have lots of clients who need to go places such as Toronto, Peterborough or Lindsay and lots of in-town drives.”

Other volunteer opportunities include friendly visits and telephone check-ins, respite, specialty geriatrics and Cope Mental Health Services programs.

Anyone interested in these opportunities can contact visit communitycaredurham.on.ca or visit any Community Care Durham branch.