July 24th, 2024

Meals on Wheels Christmas campaign gets rolling

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on December 6, 2023.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Cupper's Nancy Graham, LSCO's Rob Miyashiro and Bonnie Jensen, and Teamworks' Ryan Miller have teamed up once again for the annual Meals on Wheels 23 Days of Christmas campaign.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The annual Meals on Wheels “23 Days of Christmas” campaign is celebrating their 15th year and is off to a great start with all days in December already being sponsored.

CEO of Teamworks Career Centre, Ryan Miller spoke to reporters Tuesday and said not only are all the days in December sponsored, the first three in January are as well.

“We are very happy to work with Meals on Wheels in this annual campaign to raise critical funding for their organization to be able to operate the whole year. The purpose of the campaign for 23 days of Christmas is to try to sponsor all the meals that are delivered in the month of December,” said Miller.

He said this is done in a few ways – businesses, community groups and individuals can support the campaign by becoming honorary chefs and sponsoring either a full day for $$1,000 or half day for $500 of meals.

The campaign can also be supported by purchasing a special MOW Christmas card for $25 or a $25 Christmas gift card from Cuppers Coffee and Tea or Italian Table.

“The wonderful thing about these cards is each time somebody buys one of this it sponsors one meal for Meals on Wheels, so every year these go like hot cakes,” said Miller.

He said to date, over the past 14 years the campaign has raised more than $315,000 and this year a goal of $35,000 has been set.

 “Help us hit that $35,000 and hitting that will help us reach a milestone of $350,000 in our 15th year,” said Miller.

He said this year the campaign has already raised $23,500 which is about 67 per cent of the goal – and it is only the first week of the campaign.

“This just shows what a giving community Lethbridge is and how much they’ll step up to support and help people to stay living independently in their homes,” said Miller.

Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization CEO Rob Miyashiro told reporters the campaign is a huge help, and without it many seniors in the community would go without eating.

“Every year that we’re involved with this we’re so grateful. I think this is so important that people are giving their time and money to make sure that people that really need these meals are getting the meals,” said Miyashiro.

MOW has operated on Lethbridge since 1970 and provides more than 100 hot meals per day for people who cannot provide for themselves. It relies on volunteers to assist with the delivery of the meals which are prepared at the LSCO kitchen.

 Miyashiro said some clients get their meals because they don’t know how to cook, or can’t cook for themselves, or they are not very mobile.

“The food is really good, the food is nutritious and they get a lot. A lot of people will use it for lunch and supper,” said Miyashiro.

 He said since they do not deliver on weekends, many clients order extra meals for those two days, and only need a few because that is enough food to feed them for the whole weekend.

But not everyone is able to afford that.

 “If we don’t do things like this, if we don’t have a community supporting this, we can’t do it. Because of the increased cost for everything, not just food, even with his great fundraising by team works and our community partners, we’re running a huge deficit in Meals on Wheels, and we just have to keep plugging ahead and trying to backfill that with donations and whatever ways we can,” said Miyashiro.

He said he would like to encourage the community to specifically donate to MOW and not just the LSCO as a whole, because even though the organization needs the funds, MOW needs it even more.

“If we can’t put meals out at a reasonable price everyday people are actually going to suffer,” said Miyashiro.

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