FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What does Meals On Wheels do?
We deliver nourishing meals to the vulnerable. When someone is unable to prepare a meal for themselves and have no one they can depend on to do this for them, we step in. The benefits of the MOW programme go beyond the food itself. A visit from a volunteer provides both social contact and a safety check. In addition, MOW can help keep people living at home and take some of the stress off of caregivers.
How does MOW differ from other charities that provide food?
Eliza Doolittle and the food kitchens of a number of island churches provide a significant service to the community by giving meals to the poor and/or hungry. Our focus is on persons who are physically unable to prepare a meal for themselves and who have no one they can depend on to do this for them. Many of our clients also have specific dietary needs such as renal or diabetic which we very carefully provide for. And of course we deliver the meal right to their home.
Who receives meals?
We prepare and deliver meals to 180 to 220 people across the island. Clients are generally seniors or people with disabilities and are often isolated or homebound. Many also have dietary needs, i.e. they are diabetic or have renal problems.
How does someone qualify to receive meals?
Usually they come to us through a medical referral. Then our Client
Services Manager, Tanika Rodrigues, contacts the individual or their family
and arranges a home interview.
How is MOW funded?
Mainly through donations. We receive a modest annual grant from the Bermuda Government with the balance of our operating funds provided entirely through donations. Prior to Covid 19 we charged a fee for meals and our clients paid on a scale based on their ability to pay. Approximately 40% received a meal at no cost. Presently, and we hope for the duration of the Covid emergency, we have eliminated any fee for food and are able to do this thanks to the generosity of our donors.
Where are you located?
MOW is centrally located on South Shore Road in Paget across the street from Modern Mart.
How many staff are employed by MOW?
We have 45 part-time staff
- Miriam MacCoy – Volunteer Coordinator – ensures we have enough volunteer support
- Carole Gift – Operations Manager – oversees kitchen operations
- Tanika Rodrigues – Client Services Manager – works directly with clients and their guardians
- Donna Amaral – Treasurer – makes sure we pay our bills
What jobs are handled by volunteers?
- Kitchen: Food preparation, cooking, plating of meals, and kitchen clean up, under the guidance of our Operations Manager
- Pot Washing: Washing, drying and storing of pots, pans and utensils, and sanitizing and storing of coolers and bags used to deliver meals
- Dispatch: Sorting of meals into their respective route cooler and bag. Liaising with delivery volunteers. Logging any concerns volunteers may have concerning clients on their route and following up with clients or their family if there is cause for concern. Record any funds received from or for clients. See that all volunteers return safely from delivery.
- Delivery: Check that meals issued correspond to the meal count as specified in the route book. Check that clients with special meals have a label with their name affixed to the meal container. In your own vehicle, deliver meals to clients then return cooler, bags, etc., to MOW. On return to MOW, report to dispatcher any discrepancies, problems or concerns • Administration: Assisting staff where necessary
How old do you have to be to volunteer?
18 years is standard but we may be able to accommodate requests from younger volunteers.
How many hours are required each week/month/year?
The hours vary depending on what the job you are volunteering for:
- Kitchen: 2.5 – 3 hours (8:00/8:30 – 11:00 a.m.)
- Pot Washing: 3 hours (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
- Dispatch: 3.5 hours (9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
- Delivery: 1 – 2 hours (11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
- Administration: As applicable
We ask our volunteers to commit to at least one day a week, and hopefully for an extended period of time. We also have volunteers who find they can’t commit to a regular schedule but are happy to fill in when we are in need of help.
Are there short-term volunteer opportunities at MOW?
Because it takes time to familiarize volunteers with their respective rolls, we tend to prefer a longer commitment, however, there are times when we are grateful for short-term help.
What experience do I need?
No experience is required, we just want you to be comfortable and effective in which ever area you choose to volunteer.
What training is provided?
There is no formal training, but new volunteers are guided through their chosen area by staff and other volunteers.
What happens if I have a schedule conflict?
If you find that you will be unable to fulfil your commitment to us on a given day, or for a period of time, we ask that you give us as much notice as you can to allow us time to find another volunteer to fill your spot.
How are MOW volunteers identified as they move through the community on delivery?
We have magnetic Meals on Wheels signs which volunteers can affix to their cars while they are out delivering meals as well as signs which they can display from inside their vehicle.
Do you deliver meals on holidays? In bad weather?
Meals on Wheels closes for public holidays as our clients’ families are more likely to be home and able to prepare meals. We can, however, provide extra meals to those who might need them. We do continue to operate in bad weather unless there is an imminent threat of a hurricane.
Can I deliver on my own?
Our policy is to send people out on delivery in pairs. With the advent of social distancing practices, however, we are relying on volunteers to deliver with a friend or family member – someone they are comfortable sharing a confined space with. This is not possible for everyone and some drivers do deliver meals on their own.
Will I be compensated for gas?
No, volunteers are expected to pay for their own gas.