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Volunteers get behind the wheel to serve up warm meals

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Come rain or shine, a group of volunteers hit the road to make sure hundreds of Winnipeg's vulnerable citizens have a warm meal each and every day.

For the past year, Dave Rubel has been volunteering with Meals on Wheels Winnipeg two or three times each week.

"It's so rewarding to actually take a meal and go knock on the door and have somebody answered the door and see you and give them a meal to start their day," he said. "I gotta say, it's the highlight of my day."

The organization has been serving up hundreds of meals each week in Winnipeg since 1965. Winnipeg Regional Health Authority staff make and package the meals, which are then taken to city hospitals.

From there, Meals on Wheels delivers the food to the front doors of Winnipeggers who are not able to get out on their own.

"We have about 300 clients who receive meals from Meals on Wheels, and we deliver all over the city," said Adam Rout, the volunteer coordinator with Meals on Wheels.

That's only possible thanks to the volunteers behind the wheels.

"If you don't have a driver then people aren't going to get their meals. So it becomes very, very critical that they have a good base of volunteers," said Rubel.

He is one of about 300 volunteers with the program. He said in his one year of volunteering as a driver, he's tried to deliver more than just a warm meal.

"Basically, I've made it my sort of goal to try to put a smile on their face," he said. "If someone's wearing a Winnipeg Jets sweater or jersey – Go Jets Go, Go Bombers Go – you know, even if it's one minute, just being a part of their day."

The group is always looking for more volunteers to get behind the wheel. Rout said the minimum commitment is one route per month. It's meaningful work that the volunteers say leave their hearts as full as the plates they deliver.

"Just that genuine appreciation that our clients have for our volunteers knowing that these folks are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts," Rout said.

More information about the Meals on Wheels Winnipeg program can be found online.

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