Governor joins Meal on Wheels deliveries

Meals on Wheels clients around West Bay got a special treat with lunch on Wednesday, when Governor Martyn Roper helped deliver the meals.

“Wow, the governor,” said Marvel Ebanks when he appeared on her doorstep with a tray of food in hand.

“It’s almost like meeting royalty, this is the first time I have had the governor come to my door,” she said.

The governor joins the food delivery route in West Bay. – Photo: Alvaro Serey

Roper joined the charity’s volunteers for the day as they went door-to-door delivering food to those in need.

Before hitting the road, staff and volunteers gathered with the governor at the Mise en Place warehouse in George Town to prepare meals for 14 seniors in the West Bay area.

Roper toured the facility and saw first-hand how seniors’ meals are prepared and packaged for delivery by Mise en Place owner Sean Collins and his team. Collins said the meals are put together in the morning and are distributed in the afternoon.

Meals are collected daily from the catering company by volunteers and hand delivered to recipients. In September, Mise en Place won a contract to provide hot nutritious meals and soup for more than 100 seniors in George Town and West Bay in support of the Meals on Wheels programme.

“This is a fantastic programme, delivering help and support to some of our persons who really need that,” Roper said.

He said this was his first time delivering meals and it was a wonderful experience meeting the older residents.

“I was impressed with the balance of the meals … they looked impressive, good nutrition and protein, and I sure they are greatly appreciated, but it would be nice to see a little less plastic,” Roper said.

Governor Roper, left, with Phil Reynolds and Meals on Wheels volunteer Anna Keating. – Photo: Alvaro Serey

On his delivery route into West Bay, driven by Meals on Wheels volunteer Anna Keating, Roper met 63-year-old Phil Reynolds, who gave the governor a hug and told him tales of his seafaring days.

Beryl Hydes, 83, said she was happy to meet the governor.

“I’m so pleased to meet you too,” Roper replied.

Edison Ebanks, 73, asked Roper if he was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II and if she had sent him.

“That’s right,” the Governor replied.

The governor also met 74-year old Arlene Rivers who told Roper she came from Cuba and was delighted to have him deliver her meal.

Keating has been delivering Meals on Wheels meals for the elderly for six years.

“The need is huge in West Bay,” she said

Besides meals, she said, seniors looked forward to the human contact Meals on Wheels brings, as some of the elderly residents see no one else throughout the day.

She said some seniors’ reactions are usually grumpy, especially if the delivery is late and if the recipients are hungry. “Some complain and say, ‘Oh no, not cabbage again’ but for the most part, they are really happy to see us.”

Meals on Wheels Facts
• Meals on Wheels have been delivering nutritionally balanced meals to the ill, less fortunate and elderly since 1997.
• Government also supports the programme with a grant. Today, Rotary and many others in the districts have come on board to assist.
• Meals on Wheels has three other kitchens that are contracted to prepare meals for seniors in Bodden Town, East End and North Side.
• Meals on Wheels provides more than 4,000 meals per month, or approximately 44,000 per year, at a cost of $5 per meal per senior, Monday through Friday.