Home & Community Support Services Grey-Bruce (HCSS Grey-Bruce) proudly participated in the 21st annual March for Meals, a month-long celebration of Meals on Wheels and the thousands of people across the province who rely on this critical service. Each year this event is held to help raise awareness about the extraordinary levels of food insecurity faced by vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities in our communities.

As the demand for nutritious and affordable meals continues to increase, HCSS Grey-Bruce’s Hot & Frozen Meals on Wheels program, along with its dedicated volunteers, are stepping up to meet the growing need. The program strives to provide Hot Meal deliveries Monday through Friday to all areas, although there are some challenges due to the availability of restaurant partners in some locations. Nevertheless, the Frozen Meals program serves as a valuable solution, offering deliveries twice per month to all areas of Grey and Bruce counties. Whether hot or frozen the Meals on Wheels program and its volunteers are working diligently to ensure that nutritious meals are delivered to those in need as the program continues to make a positive impact in the community.

In March, Municipal Leaders from across Grey & Bruce were invited to join HCSS Grey-Bruce volunteers on their Meals on Wheels delivery routes to gain a better understanding of the needs of their constituents and how the Hot & Frozen Meal program operates. HCSS Grey-Bruce’s Community Development & Philanthropy Coordinator, Rachel Taylor, stated, “It’s our hope that having the opportunity to ride along with our volunteers and meet those who are benefiting from this program will help our municipal leaders better understand the work our agency does to support area seniors, adults-living-with-disabilities, and their families. Then they can help us spread the word to their constituents who might benefit from our services, who may be interested in volunteering, or who are looking to support a local organization with a donation.”

In 2022, HCSS Grey Bruce Meals on Wheels program delivered over 39,000 Frozen Meals and over 25,000 Hot Meals to clients across Grey and Bruce counties. The Hot Meals program operates in partnership with local restaurants to prepare meals, which are picked up and delivered by volunteers. HCSS Grey-Bruce partners with ten local hot meal providers, including The Lighthouse Restaurant in Southampton, Bear Tracks Inn & Restaurant in Lions Head, Boomer’s Cozy Bar & Grill in Teeswater, The Bruce in Kincardine, Country Corner Eatery in Durham, Friends & Family Restaurant in Owen Sound, Gateway Haven Long Term Care Home in Wiarton, Harley’s Pub & Perk in Mildmay, Kim’s Place Restaurant in Markdale, and The Princess Hotel in Tobermory.

 “This program simply could not function without our community partners. We are so grateful to the local business owners who work with us to keep the Meals on Wheel program rolling across Grey-Bruce.” Colleen Benninger, Meals on Wheels team leader.

For the Frozen Meals program, HCSS Grey-Bruce partners with The Lighthouse Restaurant in Southampton to prepare and package thousands of frozen meals , which are distributed biweekly by HCSS staff to volunteers who then deliver the meals to clients. The Frozen Meal menu has 30 different entrée options, as well as sides, soups, and desserts. The menu also includes vegetarians, gluten-free, and some other options for those with special dietary requirements.

HCSS Grey-Bruce works to keep the client fees associated with the Meals on Wheels program as low as possible. The cost of a Hot Meal delivery varies depending on location but is currently always under $10. The price of Frozen Meals is $5.50 per entrée, and a volume discount is available for $36.75 for seven meals. For those that still find themselves struggling with this expense further subsidies funded by community donations may be available.

HCSS Grey-Bruce would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to all the Municipal leaders who participated in March for Meals this year and share a special thanks to all the volunteers who participated in the ride-alongs.

“Our volunteers are such incredible people. They understand how supporting others can improve the health and wellbeing of their entire community. They often also share the sentiment that they are volunteering today so that this service will continue to exist when they and their loved ones need it.” Holly Pavusa, Volunteer Coordinator.

New volunteers from all areas of Grey-Bruce are always needed to assist with delivering Meals on Wheels. Interested individuals, community groups or businesses interested in corporate volunteering are encouraged to contact Volunteer Coordinator Holly Pavusa. Mileage reimbursement is available for all volunteers to ensure that the cost of fuel is never a barrier to volunteering.

For more information about receiving Meals on Wheels, volunteering, or making a donation to Home and Community Support Services Grey-Bruce please call 519-372-2091 or visit HCSSGREYBRUCE.COM