Central Okanagan Region Nutrition Society
A grant from the Valley First Community Endowment is allowing the Central Okanagan Region Nutrition Society—better known as Meals on Wheels—to extend the reach of its meal program and help more people in need in the Kelowna area.
The $5,000 received from the Valley First endowment, which is housed with the First West Foundation, is being used by Meals on Wheels to subsidize food costs for the increasing number of people who are finding healthy, affordable meals beyond their reach.
“Hunger and food affordability issues are all too real in our communities,” says Valley First Downtown Kelowna branch manager Jason Gagliano. “Valley First’s endowment grant extends the reach of the Meals on Wheels program and helps address some of these issues. Healthy individuals and families are the backbone of strong, sustainable communities.”
Meals on Wheels serves more than 750 clients a year through its home delivery program. It also plays an important social role in the community by regularly calling on many seniors or disabled clients who may otherwise have few visitors.
“The funding from the Valley First endowment has given us a real boost,” says Meals on Wheels representative Marion Bremner. “Along with providing discounted meals, our volunteers are also a big social component in our clients’ lives. We really look out for their health and well-being. We wouldn’t be able to continue connecting with so many people without Valley First’s support.”
Donalyn Rilling, a 10-year Meals on Wheels volunteer and Valley First member, has a personal connection with the home-delivery service – her mother was a client in Saskatchewan.
“My mother was fortunate to receive a lot of help in the past,” says Rilling. “When I moved to Kelowna I wanted to do something for the community. Meals on Wheels made a big difference in my mother’s life, so I decided to volunteer. It’s very gratifying work and I’m happy I can do my bit to help.”
In 2011, throughout the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson communities, the First West Foundation supported charities and initiatives helping children, families, and youth at risk of hunger, by donating more than $40,000 to seven organizations from the Valley First Community Endowment.
The Valley First Community Endowment was created in 2010 with an initial $1 million donation from Valley First as a lasting legacy of community support. Each year, First West Credit Union donates a portion of its profits to grow the Endowment.