Calgary in 1964 was a growing and relatively affluent city. The civic census taken in January of 1965 indicated a population of 311,116, an increase of 16,192 people over the 1964 census conducted in April.
In Calgary the population of elderly was increasing. The Hospital Chaplaincy Committee of the Calgary Presbytery of the United Church expressed concerns that elderly people living alone were being discharged from hospitals with no support system during their recovery. In January 1964 they requested that the United Church Women study the matter and report back. A pilot project for meal service was recommended. This project called Calgary Church Women’s Community Care (Meals on Wheels) was registered as a society under the terms of the Societies’ Act of the Province of Alberta and commenced operation on November 15th, 1965 with 8 clients. Meals were prepared in the kitchen of the Calgary North Hill Community YMCA.
At that time $3,459.36 had been raised through May Day teas and individual contributions.
The pilot project continued until February 1967 when the need for the service was confirmed. In 1967 the organization became a United Way Fund agency. In May 1967 Winnifred Hardy was appointed Executive Director and a search began for larger premises.
The Move to Hillhurst United Church (1967)
In October of 1967 the operation moved to Hillhurst United Church. The kitchen was 24 feet by 14 feet and out of this small area the organization grew to a client base of 125 meals per day.
In March of 1969 the first van was acquired, donated by the South West Lions’ Club.
The Move to 4th Avenue SW (1972)
In 1970 the first steps were undertaken to find larger quarters, and in 1972 the operation moved to 828 – 4 Avenue SW, a building leased from The City of Calgary.
In 1974 a second van was donated by the Nickle Family Foundation and equipped by the Calgary Foundation. By 1974 the Anglican Church Women, the Catholic Women’s League, the Baptist Women’s Council of Calgary, the Women’s Council of Calgary and the Women’s Groups of the Presbyterian Church had joined the organization.
In 1975 application was made to change the name of the organization to Calgary Meals on Wheels.
The Move to 3610 MacLeod Tr SE (1983)
By 1981 Calgary Meals on Wheels was again outgrowing its physical facility and a search for larger premises was initiated. Over half a million dollars was raised, and the move to a new facility was underway. The new facility had at one time been a warehouse and most recently used by Pitts Engineering Ltd. during the LRT construction. This new space was three times as large as the facility on 4th Avenue and boasted better access for suppliers and volunteers off MacLeod Trail. The former garage building was transformed into a fully equipped modern industrial kitchen and office facility. The move took place in November 1983 with no interruption of service. Friday meals went out from 4th Avenue and the following Monday the meals went out from MacLeod Trail.
Calgary Meals on Wheels operated out of the MacLeod Trail location for 30 years, producing and delivering more than 6 million meals!
The Move to 5759-80 Avenue SE (2013)
In summer of 2013, we celebrated another milestone with the opening of a brand new, custom-built production facility located in the Great Plains Industrial Park. The new building, equipped with a 15,000 sq.ft production area can better serve Calgarians and keep up with the need for the services for decades to come.
On November 15, 2015 Calgary Meals on Wheels celebrated its 50th Anniversary of service.