By Ken Herar
Are you a senior and looking to make new friends?
With Abbotsford having a large, diverse senior population, sometimes people may find it hard to find new activities.
Abbotsford Community Services offers many programs that help seniors connect with each other and much more. At ACS Seniors Program & Services, they have 11 different programs that assist people in daily living. Two of the most popular are Lunch with the Bunch (LWTB) and Meals on Wheels.
Anne-Marie Sjoden has been volunteering with both programs for the past year and has found this to be a rewarding experience. With the Lunch with the Bunch, Sjoden heads to ACS at 8 a.m. to prepare soup and dessert for seniors, who start arriving at 10 a.m. and onward. On average about 40 guests attend and there is still plenty of room for more. The gathering is concluded around 1 p.m., leaving people with many smiles and much to talk about.
In terms of the Meals on Wheels program, Sjoden co-ordinates with her team to deliver the meals in the Abbotsford area, which takes a few hours each day.
She also adjusts meals for dietary needs by request. In total, the program delivers about 40 meals to doorsteps each day.
Charles and Eda Christian have been coming to LWTB since March of 1996, after they saw an advertisement in the local newspaper. They have only missed one Monday since.
Charles says, “We value the love and the friendship that has grown over the years. Bingo and music is what we both enjoy the most. With me being blind, there have been so many people there to help me with whatever my needs are. We have felt right at home all these years. When we first moved to this community, we didn’t know very many people and where we could go to make new friends.”
Dorthy Matheson, who will be celebrating her second year this summer with LWTB, said, “I’m really thankful, and I really enjoy being with the group.
The best thing is getting a ride to and from ACS. If it wasn’t for that convenience and kindness I wouldn’t be able to be here.”
Nancy Deba, who is the seniors meal coordinator, said, “Lunch with the Bunch is about 20 years old and a program that is designed for people who want to make new friends. Our volunteers help drive those that need a ride for $1.50 on Mondays each way with lunch only being $6.50, and live music on the last Monday of the month. I also run the Meals on Wheels program, which has been running for 40 years. We started back in 1973 and deliver meals five days a week in Abbotsford. It’s a hot meal at a small cost of $7.50. We also have a frozen menu available at a cost of $ 7. These meals are delivered straight to your door and it’s not just for seniors; it’s available for anyone having a hard time making meals.”
These programs are all operated by volunteers, who are the heart and soul in making this a success, and they are looking for more to join in and make our community more inclusive.
We all have friends or family who may need assistance when it comes to aging.
Be part of a positive experience with our local seniors. For more information, contact Nancy at 604- 870-3764.