Meals to Seniors program set to expire at end of March
It’s a program that allows housebound seniors and those living with disabilities to eat affordable, nutritious and delicious meals in the comfort of their own home. But at the end of the month, those customers may lose that independence.
“If people don’t eat, you know what’s going to happen, they’re going to end up in emergency rooms, people are going to die. It’s that serious,” explained Leonard LeBlanc, the president of the New Brunswick Seniors Association.
“Meals to Seniors” is a program offered by the Canadian Red Cross which serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner to about 128 clients.
But with a decline in customers, the agency has been forced to make a tough decision.
The Canadian Red Cross says the numbers are simply too low to support the financial viability of the program. All of the clients, vendors and government representatives have been notified that the program will expire along with its contract on March 31.
The program will be put on the back burner in Sackville, the Acadian Peninsula, Moncton, Richibucto and Sussex areas. It will remain intact in Grand Falls and Edmunston where the need is higher.
“In the Sussex area, there are four clients right now so it’s a very low volume, the largest client base would have been in the greater Moncton area for us and even at that, we were dealing with 55 clients,” explained Bill Lawlor, the provincial director of the Canadian Red Cross.
The Canadian Red Cross says New Brunswick’s Department of Social Development is working alongside other agencies to determine steps moving forward.
“There’s been lots of conversation with other providers who could potentially step up and provide this service,” said Lawlor.
Seniors want to know what’s going to happen sooner rather than later as the New Brunswick Seniors Association is now fielding calls from concerned clients.
“The government has got to act. The ball is in their court. We’ll see what happens,” LeBlanc said.
And only time will tell what is to happen, come the end of March.
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