Surging costs, lack of volunteers shutters South Surrey-White Rock Meals on Wheels – Global News

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.
A charity that provides a critical lifeline to low-income seniors and people with disabilities in South Surrey and White Rock is shutting down, citing rising costs and a lack of volunteers.
“After 51 years … we have to close down,” Meals on Wheels South Surrey-White Rock coordinator Pat Patton told Global News.
“It’s a matter of everything coming together at one time, the price of gas has affected our volunteers, and those that cannot afford to pay their own gas want to keep volunteering but can’t do it.”
The dwindling availability, Patton said, left the existing pool of volunteers working longer and longer hours.
Read more: ‘They don’t want to drive’: Volunteer-driven B.C. charities hit hard by rising gas prices
She estimated she logs as many as 40 hours herself some weeks.
“I kept looking for somebody to come in and take over and do something,” she said.
“Many women and some men have done so, but when you are dealing with retired people they want to have lives too — and its not always possible to do that with volunteer work that goes from two hours once a week to six hours, or 15 hours if you’re doing a day coordination.”
The final straw, she said, was inflation.
Surging food costs meant that the organization would have to essentially double the cost of a meal, from the current $7.75 to nearly $15.
“It was the kiss of death. We had to call it a day,” she said.
Another organization, Cloverdale Community Kitchen, has reached out and offered to try and help take on some of the Surrey-White Rock operation’s clients, according to Patton.
Read more: Gas prices impact community organizations that rely on volunteer drivers
She said she’s also been speaking with Meals on Wheels Surrey-North Delta about potentially providing service.
But Lorna Hoare, a volunteer with that group, said they’re also facing significant pressures.
Despite about $60,000 in annual funding from Fraser Health, Hoare said Meals on Wheels Surrey-North Delta faces a yearly shortfall of about $20,000, which they try to patch over with private donations.
“We deliver an average of 100 meals a day. We were delivering 130 meals a day but when the subsidies after COVID stopped that went down,” she said. “Those people just stopped getting meals.”
Like in South Surrey, rising food costs, the costs of disposable packaging the meals are delivered in and surging fuel prices have the organization straining to make ends meet.
Without help, she said, they too could face shutting down in about five months.
Read more: Concern over meals at Downtown Eastside veterans’ home after kitchen moves offsite
“If nothing happens that we get more funding, we just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Both women described the prospect of ending service as heartbreaking, noting that it is the vulnerable clients who will suffer.
Meals on Wheels drivers, they said, are often the only person some of their clients have contact with for long periods of time.
“Sometimes there are situations where somebody has had a nasty fall and they’re embarrassed about it. And they won’t tell their families, but they will tell us,” Patton said.
“What’s going to happen with nutrition is one thing,” added Hoare. “But the isolation that’s going to happen to these people if they don’t have someone looking out for them everyday,” added Hoare.
Get a roundup of the most important and intriguing national stories delivered to your inbox every weekday.
Get a roundup of the most important and intriguing national stories delivered to your inbox every weekday.


About Merisa

Check Also

10 Best Recipes With Beef Broth – Insanely Good – Insanely Good Recipes

More results… More results… If you’re looking for mouthwatering ways to use up that leftover …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *