Meals on Wheels organizer comes full circle

Meals On Wheels

at your service - Over 40 years after Joyce Mayled helped start Meals On Wheels in Claresholm, she now received meals at home. Here she is at left, with Karen Bishop of Meals On Wheels. Photo by Rob Vogt

By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer
More than 40 years ago Joyce Mayled helped start Meals On Wheels.
Now, she has come full circle and received Meals On Wheels herself.
Since 1976, food services at the Claresholm Centre for Mental Health and Addictions have been preparing meals that were delivered to people in their homes by volunteers.
“Over 40 years later, they’re still providing meals,” Mayled said. “How wonderful is that.”
At first, the meals were taken to the Claresholm General Hospital then delivered to clients. Later they were directly at the care centre.
It all started in May of 1976 with a simple conversation.
Mayled’s neighbour Lottie Anderson came home one day from seeing Dr. Barry Mitchell.
“Dr. Mitchell wants me to be on Meals On Wheels, but there’s no Meals On Wheels,” she said.
Mayled, whose career had been in food, phone Marilyne Nelson, who was Dr. Mitchell’s nurse.
“I’d be interested in helping,” Mayled said back then.
“So would I,” Nelson said.
That was at 11 a.m.
At 5:30 p.m., Dr. Mitchell phoned.
“I hear you’re going to start Meals On Wheels in Claresholm,” he said back then.
“And we did,” Mayled said.
So, they worked with Art Vandenberg, the director of Family and Community Support Services, who took them to places that offered Meals On Wheels.
“We just went from there,” Mayled said. “We did a lot of research.”
When it started, Meals On Wheels had a committee of nine with different roles.
“The main goal was nutritious meals to keep people in their homes long term and short term,” Mayled said.
Short-term were people recuperating from something, while long-term were people hoping to stay in their homes longer.
Mayled observed there are people in their 90s still in their homes, due in part to receiving Meals On Wheels.
Recently, Mayled had an injury of her own.
“Over 40 years later, I’m receiving Meals On Wheels.”
The irony is not lost on her either.
“We’ve come full circle.”
She is grateful the service started so many years ago, continues to help people.
“I’m really appreciative of all the committee members.
“And all the volunteers over the years who have delivered the meals.
“There have been many, many people who have made that program a success and kept it a success.”