The province’s declaration of a State of Emergency for COVID-19 on March 16 set the wheels in motion for Anna Appelquist. Appelquist helps find volunteers and creates the delivery schedule for Meals on Wheels in Radville. With the implementation of the State of Emergency, which included suspending the work of volunteers 65 years and older, the program lost about two-thirds of its 50 volunteers virtually overnight.
Appelquist, who is 86 and volunteers from home, was not one of them.
Anna Appelquist has learned to roll with the punches throughout the pandemic.
“I had to hurry and recruit some people under the age of 65,” she said.
Between Appelquist, who called potential volunteers, and the Town of Radville, which posted an urgent call for help on its Facebook page, the word got out and the 10 residents dependent on the service continued to receive nutritionally balanced meals Monday through Friday, without interruption.
“It can take a lot of phone calls, but I don’t mind because I like to help out,” she said. “It’s just by word of mouth. When I know people aren’t working, I call. I say, ‘What are you doing? I need you.’”
She said most people are willing to volunteer unless they have another obligation.
“Some people only do one day. Some will do five or six. I plan a month ahead. I’m already phoning people to fill August. If I don’t get the month filled, I get antsy.”
Appelquist assumed this duty nine years ago, when her neighbour gave up the role.
“It’s fun to talk to the volunteers. A person has to keep their brain working.”
Bernie Doepker, SHA’s director of Volunteer Services, said she’s grateful for the dedication of Appelquist and for that of the many volunteers, both new recruits and old hands, who support the delivery of our services. “We are truly thankful for every volunteer we have,” said Bernie Doepker. “Volunteers are an integral part of our health care system.”
SHA Volunteer Services is recruiting for Meals on Wheels volunteers in many communities and accepting general registration from people willing to help in the event of a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases. If you are interested, please become a
COVID-19 pandemic volunteer. If you have questions about volunteering, please email