Delivering care, connection and a hot meal in a time of need
Giving back comes naturally to Kristine Jones.
So when the TELUS manager learned Meals on Wheels in Kelowna needed help getting deliveries out to seniors and homebound individuals in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, she didn’t hesitate to pitch in.
“Most of the Meals on Wheels’ volunteers are seniors. With the pandemic, seniors were being told to stay home. It was a scary time,” recalls Jones.
“It dawned on me that I have this big team of awesome TELUS technicians that know the city in and out, because they drive it all day, every day, and we have the trucks too,” she says.
“So, I reached out and asked how we could support Meals on Wheels by doing food deliveries and anything else they needed. We just wanted to help however we could. It felt right.”
Soon, Jones and a team of about 15 at TELUS were pitching in, using TELUS resources, like service trucks, staff, and supplies — to bring hot meal deliveries to people in need.
“TELUS supported the idea from the get-go. They were so generous to say, ‘This is a time where we’re needed in the community.’ It’s part of the culture -- really all about people helping people,” says Jones.
Jones adds, the TELUS service team had already been supporting seniors living safely and independently, by installing key services like the LivingWell Companion medical alert, with features like fall detection, built-in GPS, and one-button emergency support. TELUS also offers Babylon by TELUS Health, a new virtual care service that helps people see a doctor, get a prescription referral, and more — another way to stay healthy, all without leaving home.
Jones plans to continue being involved with Meals on Wheels, whenever they need her help. She adds, she can’t wait until she can really get to know the clients better after the pandemic.
“I love volunteering for Meals on Wheels,” says Jones. “To help seniors and people in need feels really good, especially at a time like this.”
Jones would like more people to know about Meals on Wheels, and how it’s a great way to connect and show you care — even if you can’t physically visit them right now.
“It’s so nice to be able to pick up the phone and get fresh food delivered to a loved one when you can’t be there,” she says. “It’s not just about the food either. For many people, getting to see the volunteers and have that interaction means a lot.”
Support from volunteers like Jones and great corporate citizens, like TELUS, are vital for the Kelowna-based registered charity, says Meals on Wheels manager, Marion Bremner.
“Volunteers don’t just deliver food. They do a cursory check-in,” says Bremner. She can list off instances when a client had fallen down, or needed assistance, and a volunteer was there to help out.
“We can’t say enough about our volunteers,” says Bremner. “They are wonderful.”
Retired photographer 93-year-old Ivo Nachenius agrees.
He makes a point to try to sit outside on his deck when possible just so he can greet the Meals on Wheels volunteers dropping off his meal delivery.
A bicycle accident left him with a knee injury, and he has limited mobility. This month, the team at Meals on Wheels surprised him on his birthday with a special cupcake and small gifts. “It was unbelievable,” says Nachenius, reflecting on the gesture. “The volunteers are happy. They are cheerful. It’s a great service.”
To learn more about Meals on Wheels or to request the service or donate, visit mow-online.com. To learn more information on the TELUS personal emergency response system, the LivingWell Companion, click here.
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