A $5,000 donation from the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) to the Prince Rupert Seniors’ Center Association (PRSCA) has helped to strengthen the Better at Home assistance program with the purchase of a new commercial freezer both organizations announced, on May 5.
The purchase of the large freezer will ensure the volunteer-led food program has the capacity for future growth and sustainability. It replaces two old model fridge-freezers, Sheila MacDonald coordinator of the PRSCAand Better at Home program, said.
“With the ongoing presence of COVID-19 keeping vulnerable communities in their homes, this program’s objective in providing home-delivered meals to support the nutritional needs of seniors, persons with disabilities, and those recovering from surgery or illness in the community is much-needed,” BCMEA stated.
“Being able to offer frozen soup and baked goods to the Better at Home clients and other seniors in the community has enabled us to stay in touch with the seniors, which have been isolated during COVID,” McDonald said. “Brief chats at the door while delivering the food has helped us assist the seniors with other issues they need help with as well,”.
“The better at home program is funded by the United Way and basically helps with nonmedical supports for seniors. Under the current support model, the Better at Home program does not permit the preparation of meals, just the delivery. This means that soups and baked goods need to be prepared elsewhere and then frozen before delivery.
The new fridge will allow for the freezing and storage of food of which between 60 to 80 portions of soups and baked goods are delivered to seniors every week, Mcdonald said.
The food assistance program is like an outreach program and was the solution to contact with clients during the pandemic, she said. It should not be confused with the Meals on Wheels program which is run by a different organization.
While the pandemic is keeping many people and organizations apart, in this circumstance it has helped create a working relationship between the BCMEA and the PRSCA with the maritime union renting the space inside the center to run training programs.
During the pandemic, the seniors center space has remained mainly unutilized while programs have been shut down. However, in the upcoming months, more than 100 recruits will use the space which allows for ample social distancing.
“The centre will also be utilized to launch the largest Violence and Harassment Awareness, Management and Training program for B.C.’s waterfront,” BCMEA stated in a press release.
“We are proud to be working in cooperation with the Prince Rupert Seniors’ Centre to deliver our training while helping support the critical services they provide the community,” Mike Leonard president and CEO of the BCMEA, said.
“We know that Prince Rupert is a city where the port sustains the community, and this partnership is a reminder that volunteer-led organizations also provide important support for local residents. We’re glad that our involvement can contribute to sustained programming at the centre.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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