Parrywinkle, March 8, 2018


PHOTO BY JAMES PARRY

Busily cooking and preparing a nutritious three-course meal, including a top sirloin roast with a rosemary and garlic crust, for delivery to some 20 local residents the very same day at noon, Hudson Meals on Wheels President, Diane Cloutier (centre), was joined by volunteers Renée Lucas and Carole Bill in the newly-renovated kitchen at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre earlier this week.

Not wanting to tempt fate and possibly incur the wrath of Zeus, the Ancient Greek's god of clouds, rain, thunder, and lightning, but holy moly have we been enjoying some great weather recently. It's almost as if Zephyrus, their god of the gentle west wind and the harbinger of spring was already smiling down on us. Snow banks melting, squirrels scampering, crimson Cardinals trilling up in the tree tops, and even the odd red-breasted Robin or two bob, bob, bobbin' around down below!

“Okay, so enough of Greek mythology James,” you are probably thinking. “Where are you going with this?” Well, to Hudson's Meals on Wheels (MOW) to be precise and here's why.

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COOKING UP A STORM - Over the past few months of bitter cold, freezing rain, and dangerous ice, this volunteer-run gem in our community has been delivering hot, nutritious, three-course lunches every Tuesday and Friday to the homes of residents - many of them elderly - unable for whatever reason to shop and cook for themselves, on a long or short-term basis.

And not just in winter, I hasten to add, but all year round since April, 2000. And just recently comfortably ensconced in the newly-renovated kitchen at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre on Main Road, it appears that they are now equipped to serve, for a nominal fee, even more clients in need, doubling their current roster.

I dropped by the kitchen this week to learn more. Wow, what a hive of activity. MOW president, Diane Cloutier, together with just some of the dedicated 50- to 60-strong team of volunteers that particular day, had been cooking up a storm since 8:30 a.m.

I learned that The Hudson Senior Citizen Counsel first made a proposal to the Hudson Parks & Recreation Department to start up such a program in 1999 and that it was actually launched in April 2000 with 17 clients. The founders being Bernie Graham, Ernie Frohloff, Alec Whyte, Gordon Pride, Connie Leith, and Louise Wibe.

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STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE - Explained Diane, who succeed former president for nine years, Lynne Kershaw, some 12 months ago, “Last year, we had 31 clients but the number has decreased to only 20 in the last six months. With our new fabulous kitchen, we are now able to serve up to 45 clients for a total of 90 meals a week. And unlike other MOWs where menus are established beforehand and volunteers just arrive and prepare the meals, here in Hudson it is the cooks themselves who decide what it is going to be. They then shop for the ingredients before preparing, packaging, and delivering it to the door.”

The guidelines being, she added, that there must be a soup, a main meal - which includes a starch, protein, vegetables - and a dessert. Also that all the food is to be cooked from scratch in the Community Centre, and that it must stay within the budget of $5 per meal, the same price that clients are charged.

As to who qualifies for the services of Hudson MOW, well the criteria has not changed much since it was founded. One must be aged 65 or over, and/or someone coming out of hospital who requires temporary assistance and here there is no age requirement if they live alone and do not have help, and they must be a resident of the Town of Hudson.

When it comes to volunteering and if you would like to step up to the plate - pardon the pun - then don't be shy dear readers. “We always need more,” Diane told me, “because people go away on vacation and need to be replaced, our volunteer base is largely made up of seniors themselves who have to step down sometimes because of various reasons, and time slots for which we need them are sometimes hard to fill. These being 8:30 a.m. to noon for cooks and assistants, and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for drivers.”

The number to call? (514) 653-4917 or send an e-mail to hudsonmow@gmail.com. Diane and her team would love to hear from you!

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KITCHEN KUDOS - Regarding that kitchen upgrade, incidentally, I learned from Nicolas Pedneault, Director of Parks & Recreation, Culture and Tourism who was there the morning I visited that it was financed with funds from both the Federal Government and the Town of Hudson. Money more than well spent in my 'recipe' book!

And that's a wrap!

E-mail: creation@videotron.ca

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