Six months into a year-long pilot project, Calgary Meals on Wheels is seeing a positive change for those enrolled in the charity’s Full Client Support Initiative. An extension of Calgary Meals on Wheels’ Home Meal Delivery Program, the Full Client Support Initiative offers meals at no cost to Calgarians who are experiencing unforeseen personal hardships.
For more than 50 years, Calgary Meals on Wheels has offered nutritious meals for a very affordable fee. For the past decade, fees have been based on a sliding scale to make the services more affordable for Calgarians in different financial circumstances. Even with this fee structure, some Calgarians in difficult situations were still unable to afford the minimum daily fee for two meals delivered to their door.
“The Full Client Support Initiative has been a goal of ours for a long time,” said Janice Curtis, Calgary Meals on Wheels Executive Director. “This is about removing barriers to proper nutrition. This is about helping Calgarians”
Acting as a bridge between poverty and possibility, the Full Client Support Initiative (FCS) removes the financial barrier to food security, allowing Calgarians to get back on their feet. The pilot program assists individuals for 90 day terms, with possible extensions available. FCS currently has the capacity to support 50 clients at all times, although there is hope to grow that number in the future.
Participants are referred to the initiative through one of three partner agencies. These partner agencies continue to work with FCS participants with the goal of being able to transition off of the initiative. One agency partner remarked:
“This program took away the biggest worry from most of my clients, ‘food.’ They previously skipped meals as they can not afford groceries. Even when they had food, it was never well balanced. I personally noticed that my clients are a lot more stress free now.”
So far, FCS has seen 71 Calgarians participate. While the stats are encouraging, what the participants are saying about the initiative shows the difference it is making.
One participant wrote, “Financially, I felt backed into the wall. So it was such an ease to have the service.” While another said “It helps my medical condition, I don’t have to worry about how to get groceries, what type of food to buy. It’s allowed me to save some money.”
This life-changing program could not have been possible without the kind support from our wonderful community and a generous donation from the Calgary Foundation. A true supporter of the community, the Calgary Foundation ensured Calgary Meals on Wheels could launch this needed initiative.
Stephanie Ralph, Fund Development Manager for Calgary Meals on Wheels, thanks the Calgary Foundation for their support; “The Calgary Foundation Community Grant has made a goal become a reality for us and our clients. With their support to help pilot this Full Client Support Initiative, our services have reached further into the community, and will continue to do so. We will be forever thankful to them for making this possible.”