A Christmas Eve initiative between Sources Community Resource Centre and Amica White Rock was fulfilling for not only isolated seniors, but also for the volunteers who brought them a festive holiday meal.
Amica community relations director Justin Penney and Sources CEO David Young put their heads together to create a hot-food delivery program for isolated seniors on Dec. 24.
One hundred and forty meals were delivered to seniors throughout the Semiahmoo Peninsula, thanks to a team of cooks, co-ordinators and volunteer drivers.
“After that day, I had the biggest smile on my face, ear-to-ear, that couldn’t be wiped off,” Penney said. “It was so worth it. So much so, that a lot of us were in tears of happiness. I think it was really important to give back to the community that has been so generous to us.”
Volunteers cooked and prepared meals consisting of such holiday favourites as turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, Brussels sprouts and apple pie. Each individually prepared package came with a stuffed Teddy bear donated by Calendar Club, a potted plant from West Coast Floral and a card provided by Sources.
With the help of community volunteers, Sources had a convoy of 20 drivers wrapped around the block at Amica in preparation for the meal delivery.
Experience with feeding a large number of people was essential to the operation, Penney said.
“Luckily a lot of us, including myself, come from a hotel background and operations. From my food and beverage background, anytime we had a large banquet event, it wasn’t necessarily how are we going to cook the food, it was always about how are the meals going to be delivered and in a hot fashion.”
The event was such a success, Penney said, that they’re not only looking at doing it again next Christmas, but they might plan another event sometime during the coming year.
“There’s no reason, we learned, that we can’t do this at other times.”
The recipients of the hot food came from a list of people prepared by Sources. Penney noted that an annual community dinner – where large groups of people gather for a meal – could not be hosted due to COVID-19.
“Some of the folks, if not most of the folks, that had been coming to the previous (dinners), we know are seniors and we know are isolated,” Penney said. “From this list that Sources had, they provided it to us so we essentially had the numbers and worked with them to create the infrastructure to make sure it got to them in a hot manner.”
Penney said the event was special because, much like many people in the country, Amica staff haven’t been able to visit their elderly parents or grandparents due to the virus.
“So knowing that there’s folks out there that look after isolated seniors meant a lot to us.”