Peggy Schafer has always liked driving so when a friend told her about a program to drive to peopleâ€™s homes delivering hot meals, she thought sheâ€™d give it a try.
And 35 years later, the 90-year-old South Langley woman is still volunteering for Langley Meals on Wheels.
The program didnâ€™t start much before she began volunteering.
â€œI thought it might be fun,â€ she said.
Schafer said sheâ€™s gotten so much more out of helping than sheâ€™s ever given.
â€œI like the interaction with people,â€ she said.
Just about the only thing thatâ€™s kept her from doing her route has been inclement weather. She figures sheâ€™s missed maybe half a dozen times.
Schafer has also done more than deliver meals. On some visits, she may have saved lives.
â€œOne time I found a lady under the coffee table,â€ she explained.
Schafer was able to call for emergency help. And itâ€™s not the only time. She arrived with her food pack to find a client outside. He had gone out in his wheelchair to get some sun.
â€œWhen I spoke to him, he couldnâ€™t talk,â€ she said.
She used his medical alarm to get help.
â€œThereâ€™s been a few times when Iâ€™ve been there timely and been able to notify the appropriate people,â€ she said.
Schafer said itâ€™s about so much more than food.
â€œThe people look forward to you coming,â€ she said.
She may only have a few minutes to interact with the clients but itâ€™s an exchange thatâ€™s important for client and volunteer.
Her current route covers a large geography, okay since sheâ€™s always loved to drive, and has about half a dozen clients. Sheâ€™s has routes with about 20 but itâ€™s typically about 10.
She started when the volunteers picked up at the Royal Canadian Legion on Eastleigh Crescent.
â€œWeâ€™ve picked up from many different places,â€ Schafer said.
As a charity that relies on volunteers, Langley Meals on Wheels has partnered with various businesses and social organizations to obtain meals for clients. Schafer said sheâ€™s picked up meals at places such as Dotâ€™s Cafe, a coffee shop on Salt Lane, Tall Timbers Golf Course, Langley Lodge and the Gateway of Hope.
Now the meals are prepared in Burnaby and are no longer delivered hot. They are made so clients, who can have food adapted to dietary needs, heat up the food when they are ready to eat.
Schafer was married for 60 years and moved from Burnaby to Langley 40 years ago, onto the same rural acreage where she currently lives.
â€œLangley 40 years ago was just a great little country town,â€ she noted.
In addition to helping at Meals on Wheels, sheâ€™s involved in activities at her church, Christian Life Assembly, including the homeless ministry and the funeral catering, as well as ushering at Sunday services.
The stay-at-home mother of three is about to move in with family in Walnut Grove but she plans to continue to help.
â€œI thought Iâ€™d go for 35 years, but at the moment, Iâ€™ll probably drive a little bit longer,â€ Schafer said.
Meals on Wheels: What is it?
Langley Meals on Wheels is a charitable non-profit society that provides affordable, preventive, therapeutic and social meals programs.
Fees are on a sliding scale based on the personâ€™s ability to pay (as per their most recent tax return).
Community and corporate donors help offset costs so people can access nutrtitious food.
Deliveries are made Monday to Friday but frozen meals can be purchased for weekend.
People need only use the service as long as itâ€™s needed, whether thatâ€™s for a few weeks during an illness or for years due to age or infirmity.
People can sign up over the phone, through the website langleymealsonwheels.com or via email. There are different payment options (cheque, cash, credit card, online via PayPal, or money order).
Food and Friends
These lunchtime socials are for those 55 and older and cost $5 each time. They take place in a variety of communities around Langley on different days of the week.
Seniors Healthy Living Bag
Those 50 and older can obtain a monthly bag of fresh produce for $5. The Seniors Healthy Living Bags can be ordered on the last Wednesday of the month and will be ready for pick up on the first Tuesday of the month. To order a Seniors Healthy Living Bag, call:
â€¢ Timms Community Centre at 604-514-2940
â€¢ Douglas Recreation Centre at 604-514-2865
â€¢ Langley Seniors Recreation and Resource Centre at 604-530-3020.