STRATFORD — A non-profit organization that provides nutritious meals to those who can't always make one themselves is extending its services into Stratford starting today.
It's a service Christine Murnaghan has some experience providing. The operations manager for Gallant's and Co. in Charlottetown will be helping to prepare food for the Meals on Wheels program to deliver to its new Stratford clients, who mostly tend to be seniors.
"(It's) kinda what we're here for," Murnaghan said. "We're here to support Islanders."
A few years before Gallant's opened in 2019, Murnaghan had conducted a feasibility study on meal delivery for P.E.I. seniors for a culinary course. She said many obstacles, such as health reasons or mobility issues, can get in the way of accessing healthy meals for seniors.
"I had elderly grandparents at the time," she said. "I knew how much of a burden it was to prepare it."
Elizabeth Pippy, a Charlottetown Meals on Wheels board member, said Stratford hasn't had a chapter of the program for about 20 years. The Charlottetown chapter has about 100 volunteers, so she advocated it start supporting its neighbouring town.
Starting today, the Charlottetown chapter will run two delivery routes into Stratford — each serving up to 12 clients — on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Stratford clients can sign up for $4 a meal, which is delivered straight to their home around noontime, Pippy said.
"(And) you're not going to be getting pizza or french fries."
Gallant's has provided catering for other similar initiatives, such as school lunch programs, but this is its first time with Meals on Wheels. A variety of meals will be served, such as turkey dinners, baked haddock and beef chili.
"(We're) trying to meet all the dietary needs of seniors," Murnaghan said.
Gallant's will also work to accommodate any clients with dietary restrictions. Being a part of this program brings things full circle for Murnaghan. Her study helped her realize that for many seniors, a delivery like this can be a highlight of their day, she said.
For Pippy, she's grateful the program continues to see volunteers giving their time and that it allows many seniors to stay living at home.
"This is one way (we) can kind of help that out," Pippy said.
Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian