When I first walked the “hallowed halls” of Meals on Wheels London, it was January 2001. Things were in full swing. After all, Meals on Wheels was not new to the London scene – it was established in 1969. As we used to say in our public presentations, “We started in 1969, when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and a loaf of bread cost twenty-three cents”.
In 2001, when I started here, there was a strong volunteer base delivering meals and providing transportation drives. We enjoyed the help of office volunteers, chat-line volunteers, volunteer visitors, event volunteers and student volunteers.
There were also corporate volunteer teams. In fact, employees from the City of London have delivered meals since 1991. That’s a twenty-seven-year time span. In 2000, it was our great food fortune when two other Corporate Teams began delivering meals and still do so to this day. Goodwill Industries pick up meals from the South Depot, and 3M Canada employees deliver meals from our East Depot. 3M has the largest number of volunteers and deliver meals three days a week.
Our entire volunteer base is an evolving group of people. Some retire, others go on to new jobs, there are health issues and life style changes which see people moving on to other interests. Sometimes volunteer roles end or change over time as innovative ideas and programs are developed.
There will always be people who will value helping others and want to connect with their community in diverse ways. Becoming a volunteer is one of them.
The journey this organization has taken since 1969 has been possible due to the volunteers who embraced our mission. They were then followed by those who came after them and so on and so on . . .
When we celebrate, in 2019, our fifty-year anniversary as a community support agency, there will be hundreds of people to acknowledge for our success, growth and development. There will be thousands of clients who used our services and were grateful for the help. That’s what community is all about. From long ago, to “infinity and beyond”. Laura