‘We are their lifeline’: Edmonton’s Meals on Wheels sees 98 per cent increase in demand

EDMONTON –

To help kick off the giving season, Edmonton’s Meals on Wheels held their annual turkey drive in an effort to provide thousands of Edmontonians with a festive feast over the holidays.

According to the organization’s fund development communications coordinator, Kyra Palylyk, 70 per cent of their clients are on subsidy and Giving Tuesday helps offset the costs for them to ensure everyone gets a warm and nutritious meal.

Giving Tuesday traditionally provides 60 per cent of their fundraising goal for the year, Palylyk said. But, due to an increase in demand, efforts have been impaired.

“We’ve been kind of put into a pandemic deadlock for hosting traditional fundraising efforts,” she said.

“We haven’t been able to really meet our fundraising goals as strongly as we have in the past without COVID-19.”

After experiencing a 98 per cent increase in demand, it now serves over 2,000 clients. Because of that, Palylyk said they’ve set a goal of raising $100,000 to help carry them through the year.

“The need continues to grow.. we’re not slowing down, we’re only getting busier and it’s so essential for us to continue fundraising to keep up with this demand.”

According to Plylyk, their oldest client is 103 years old and the youngest is nine.

The Meals on Wheels kitchen currently produces over 450 daily meals as well as over 400 to 800 frozen meals. Plylyk said three different groups of volunteers come in every day to do the cooking.

“As the weather drops and it gets icier outside and colder outside it becomes increasingly more difficult for homebound individuals or people with mobility issues to leave their home so they not only rely on us, but we are their lifeline,” she said.

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