Ten of Thompson’s low-income seniors with limited mobility are receiving food hampers worth $60 each every Wednesday because of the Food on the Table for Winter program.
Run by the Thompson Seniors Community Resource Council (TSCRC) in collaboration with the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre, it addresses the challenges of food security for low-income seniors.
The program is designed to provide this target group with regular access to a variety of healthy foods throughout the winter.
“All 10 of our seniors fall into the low-income group whereby their income is at or below the poverty line. All of them have some type of mobility issue; they might not need a wheelchair but they would still need a walker or someone next to them to help them move,” said Penny Byer, Coordinator at the TSCRC on Friday.
“The whole idea is to address food security but the big thing is also that a lot of them cannot carry bags of groceries. When you get to your 70s and 80s, your means for obtaining groceries gets more limited, so we just wanted to make their lives a little bit easier.”
When recipients have run low on particular items such as shampoos, toiletries or paper products, the TSCRC will include these products into the hampers on top of the foods that they were promised.
Until the end of March, these seniors will receive the same hampers unless they identify a shortage of essential items.
Each week, the variety of food in the hampers changes but it will always include fresh vegetables and fruits, protein, staples such as margarine, bread or milk, along with a carbohydrate such as rice or pasta.
This Wednesday, the recipients received a bag of grapes, apples, a premade salad, carrots, spinach, onions, miracle whip, a can of tuna, tea, a loaf of bread, sugar, a bag of rice, crackers, two quartz of milk, cheese slices, gingerbread cookies, a packet of mints and a detergent.
“One senior is living with her daughter and her grandchild. Between them, they are still living between the poverty line. They get so excited every time they get our hampers,” said Byer.
“Our recipients are quite appreciative, and they look forward to receiving their hampers. One person said it is like getting a Christmas gift every week because they do not know what is inside until they open it up.”
Thompson Community Foundation has contributed $11,595 in funding to provide food hampers for the elderly, purchase sanitization equipment for safe delivery and training for the volunteers.
The TSCRC is responsible for making the food hampers while the friendship centre is in charge of delivering the hampers to the seniors’ home and if necessary, put it on the table for them.
“The friendship centre was very helpful in suggesting how we could go about doing this efficiently, and they were also able to provide us with several candidates who could be recipients of the hampers,” said Byer.
“We are grateful to the volunteers from the centre that is willing to do this. Interestingly enough, all but one of our volunteers are seniors themselves, so it is nice to see that there are elders that are mobile and are able to continue contributing to the community.”
Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun