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Warriors biker club joins Meals on Wheels to deliver meals to seniors during COVID-19 pandemic

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Ian Campbell

SUDBURY — Greater Sudbury’s Meals on Wheels has a few new volunteers who are stepping up to the plate to fill a desperate need.

The charity’s local chapter issued a desperate plea earlier this week saying they need people to step up to deliver meals after losing some of its older volunteers and those belonging to groups.

According to executive director Shannon Ketchabaw, they have more than 400 clients who depend on their services.

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Losing 15 volunteers in one day was a big blow to their ranks.

“It’s huge to an organization where generally we have about eight routes daily and we have over 100 meals going out daily,” Ketchabaw said.

It was a plea that Warrior member Godfrey Shawanda heard loud and clear.

“I looked at it and read the article that Meals on Wheels was looking for drivers, facing a shortage of drivers. You know, we’re always told to watch out for our elders and our youth, but they’re forgetting the elders. I gave our Nickel City president a call and said let’s get this ball rolling,” said Shawanda.

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“It was pretty big,” said Warriors member James Letford. “The call went out in the chat group, and within minutes, all sorts of riders were on top of this and willing to give their time today, as well as next week and so on and so forth to help these seniors get what they need.”

Shawanda, Letford, as well as member Alain Gareau, were the first of several to step up and take a route.

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After getting instructions on some of the new protocols that the charity has put in place, they were ready to hit the road.

Giving back to the community is nothing new for this group.

“We started off with the soup kitchen and last year, we did the mental health run. And we told the public that we’re always open to help anybody,” said Gareau.

It’s help that Ketchabaw says is more than welcome.

In this new age of self-isolation, they’re expecting things to be incredibly busy over the coming weeks.

“It’s awesome and just knowing that they wanted to help out, it’s nice to see people helping out in any way and this is great,” said Ketchabaw.

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“It could be a week, could be two weeks, could be a couple of months. We don’t know, but as long as we’re able and capable of getting out of the house, we’ll be delivering food to whoever we can,” said Letford.

Since the pandemic began, Meals on Wheels has undertaken new protocols that include social distancing and leaving meals in secured areas outside the home.

They’re also going to be instituting weekly check-ins over the phone to make sure clients are okay.

According to the charity, they had 20 people answer the call to help in the first hour after the Facebook post. Now, 50 more are willing to volunteer.

Ketchabaw adds they’re always in need of additional volunteers for anyone interested in coming to help.

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If you would like to volunteer to help Meals on Wheels, click here.

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