A Brief History Of Meals On Wheels Of Winnipeg
Meals on Wheels was originally created as a side project of The Home Welfare Association. A 1961 study recommended the establishment of a Meals on Wheels delivery service for people who were unable to prepare meals for themselves, such as the elderly and infirm. A three year pilot project was started and they delivered the first meals on June 30, 1965.
- 1965 – Volunteers delivered 10,308 meals in the first year, helping qualifying individuals stay independent in their own homes. The demand for Meals on Wheels continued to grow as time went on, adding staff and new centres to meet demand. Volunteers increasingly became a key component of the program’s success.
- 1980 – The program began looking for a way to lower the costs for volunteers, as some could no longer participate.
- 1981 – Our honorarium program started, reimbursing volunteers $1.50 per route driven.
- 1987 – The Winnipeg Jewish Community Council approached Meals on Wheels, asking for the delivery of kosher meals.
- 1988 – Kosher meal service began, with a kosher catering firm preparing meals for our clients.
- 1991 – The kitchen of the Gwen Secter Creative Living Centre took over kosher meal preparation, with Meals on Wheels coordinating the administrative and delivery functions.
Meals on Wheels Today
1998 brought about dramatic differences in the dietary services offered by hospitals in the city and the changes impacted Meals on Wheels. In the fall of 1998, Urban Shared Services Corporation took charge of dietary services at several facilities. Their plan for dietary services included a Regional Distribution Facility where the meals are trayed.
All food is received at the Regional Distribution Facility already prepared, so no preparation or cooking is done onsite. The individualized meals are then delivered to the health care facilities where, using state of the art technology they are heated.
Meals on Wheels took advantage of this change to upgrade the service to the clients. All clients were then able to receive soup with their meal, a midday nourishment was added to the meal, and an improved entree container that can be used in a microwave or a standard oven was selected for the meals.
Since 1965 the organization has evolved greatly to the point at which we find it today. Reliance on volunteers is as ever the vehicle that makes it all happen. The operation is driven by a focus on the client, and operationally the system relies on computers. The Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers demonstrate the same commitment to helping the lives of others as was shown by the founding members.