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Spotlight on Community Support Services Meals on Wheels and More

If you're looking for services and programs in the Kitchener / Waterloo / Cambridge / North Dumfries region, look no further than Community Support Connections – Meals on Wheels and More (CSC). They have 11 volunteer-driven programs dedicated to helping people live in their homes as independently as possible, regardless of age, illness, or disability.

CSC got its start in 2007, when four smaller charities decided to join forces and become one streamlined organization. "Before the merger, people had to call various places to get the support they needed," explains Rosalind Horne, Resource Development Lead for CSC. "Now everything's all in one place."

WWCCAC partners with CSC by making referrals to their programs and services, using an online program called CareDove to book an appointment for patients with one of CSC's Care Coordinators. New clients are assigned a CSC Care Coordinator based on their postal code. The Care Coordinator will come to their home and work one-on-one with them to determine which programs and services they need. They can also help connect clients with other services in the community.

One of CSC's largest programs is Meals on Wheels, which sends out approximately 350 meals a day. Last summer, they built a brand new kitchen right in their office (pictured above), with high-tech appliances designed to produce large quantities of food and a large walk-in fridge and freezer. "We used to have to outsource to a catering company, so we're really excited about this," says Horne. "It's much more cost-effective and gives us more control over what we can do." There are 11 different therapeutic diets that the program can accommodate, with a variety of menu options for clients to choose from. CSC has a long-standing partnership with KW Humane Society, and also deliver pet food to people that cannot afford it otherwise. "We're always looking at ways we can partner with other organizations to make things as efficient as possible," notes Horne. "There's no sense in sending out two different volunteers when the job can be done by one."

In addition to Meals on Wheels, CSC offers free exercise classes including WALC, or Wellness Active Living Club, walking classes, and SMART gentle exercise classes, which are based on VON's nationally accredited program. Trained volunteers – like WWCCAC Care Coordinator Joanne Maxwell – go directly into clients' homes, or host sessions in long-term care homes, retirement homes, and condos or apartment buildings where there is a high density of seniors. "It's fantastic to be able to have classes right where they live, especially in the winter months when people are less inclined to go outside," Horne says. "Things like exercise classes or a dining program on-site are really great, because it brings people out from the four walls of their apartment and gets them socializing."

CSC also provides transportation services, and has a fleet of nine agency vehicles that they use to bring seniors to Adult Day programs, or on group shopping trips. Volunteers use their own vehicles to take people to medical appointments and to the grocery store.

And that's not all – CSC has Friendly Visitors, Home Help, Reassurance and more! To learn more about all the wonderful things that CSC does for our community, head over to their website today.