March 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic came in like a lion but and didn’t leave like a lamb. At Community Support Connections, we offer crucial services that keep people in our community living independently at home. One of our programs is Meals on Wheels, and when the pandemic hit, we were forced to utilize our staff (instead of volunteers) to deliver much-needed meals to clients. With needing more than 25 people to deliver meals every day, this was pulling staff away from our other client programs and needs. Once we developed our Covid-19 policies and guidelines for volunteers to safely resume delivering meals, we reached out to the community for help and were absolutely overwhelmed by the response! We had over 100 people apply to deliver meals – the kind of response we would typically see in a four-month period! Many who reached out were working from home and able to help over their lunch hour or had unfortunately been laid off with the pandemic. Although some organizations had to shut their doors, we were blessed to be able to keep providing services, such as delivering meals, safely through the hands and hearts of our incredible community volunteers.

Fast forward to two years later, we are still extremely fortunate to have more volunteers than needed to get hot, healthy meals to our clients. Our volunteers not only deliver meals, they also provide a quick safety check – reporting back to us any unusual changes in clients behavior so we can follow-up with the client later and/or reach out to family and make sure everyone is cared for. Sometimes the only person that our clients will see in a day is their trusted volunteer with a friendly (masked) smile!

Our clients are not the only ones who have benefitted from this service during the pandemic– our volunteers have reported time and time again that volunteering, during this critical period of need, has been therapeutic to them as well.

Mary, a Meals on Wheels Driver for the past 13 years writes, “If you ever shut down, a part of my life would be gone. People tell me that I can take time off – I’m just a volunteer, but I say “NO”, I’m part of a bigger picture. It’s like a wheel where everything has to be in the right place at the right time in order to make things happen.”

Other volunteers have commented on our ability to adapt and change with the ongoing shutdowns in our community. One volunteer writes, “I am impressed with the number of services that Community Support Connections provides to clients/community members. Also the ability that Community Support Connections has shown to adapt and change with changes in the virus and government policy is very impressive. I also feel that Community Support Connections is very interested in the safety and well-being of volunteers and community members.” Another volunteer comments on how they too have benefitted from being part of our organization. “I have been delivering of Meals on Wheels since April of 2017. It has enriched my life in so many ways. It gives me something to look forward to

every week and I’m so very thankful we’ve been able to continue throughout the pandemic. The staff are always helpful and I so enjoy seeing the clients on my routes.”

We are incredibly fortunate to have volunteers like Mary, and countless others, who have reached out and continue to help during the pandemic. Although it has been a difficult two years for all of us, a light has been forever shone on our organization, and the community has rallied to ensure our most vulnerable members won’t be left behind.

Interested in becoming a superstar volunteer like Mary? Visit our website to learn more about our programs and services and different volunteer opportunities to fit your schedule. Don’t have time to volunteer, but interested in helping another way? With your monetary support, we can continue to be a lifeline for our community. Please visit our donations page to learn how your support can help us continue to meet the needs of people in our community.

Warm regards and stay safe,

Heidi Elliott,
Volunteer Engagement Manager

Community Support Connections
61 Woolwich Street North – PO Box 29 Breslau, Ontario N0B 1M0
Office: 519-772-8787 Ext. 205