Ken will never forget the moment he saw his future wife across the lunchroom table at Schneiders, a historical employer in Kitchener. While many have fond memories of the site, this couple remembers it as the place they met and fell in love.
“It didn’t take me long to know I would marry her,” said Ken with a grin across his face.
Since retiring from Schneiders more than 20 years ago, the couple downsized their home of 50 years to ensure they could remain living independently. Last year, Shirley spent some time in the hospital. Ken continued living on his own but needed some extra help without his partner by his side.
He was introduced to Community Support Connections – Meals on Wheels and More (CSC), a local charity that works with hundreds of volunteers to help people live in their own homes with independence and dignity.
“It’s important for me to be at home,” said Ken. “I can still do things on my own.”
Ken signed up for the Meals on Wheels program which delivers a hot, nutritious meal to his doorstep by a caring volunteer. Shirley was relieved knowing Ken had access to the service while she was away.
Their love story started out over a noon hour meal. Now Ken and Shirley receive Meals on Wheels each weekday enjoyed in the comforts of their own home – where they want to be.
“It’s consistently there right when it’s supposed to be. Even when the snow is blowing they still come,” said Ken. “You get good, quality meals.”
Because Ken and Shirley do not have children or family members to depend on, the value of the volunteer visit is priceless.
"The volunteers are friendly and they’re never in a rush. It’s the same bunch every week, they’re good people,” he said.
Along with Meals on Wheels, the couple have benefited from other programs offered by CSC. Shirley participated in FabFit where she was matched one-on-one with a trained volunteer for in-home gentle exercise.
“It does help when you’re old and stiff. It makes you feel better,” Shirley said.
They have also taken advantage of CSC’s Transportation program which helps them get to important medical appointments, and have a CSC screened brokered worker who helps them with tasks around their apartment. When asked what is most important to the couple, the answer is quite simple: to stay together at home.
“I don’t know what I would do on my own. I don’t know what I would do without her,” Ken said.
If you or someone you know might be interested in CSC’s services and programs to help them stay in their own home, please call 519-772-8787 or visit www.communitysupportconnections.org.