Santropol roulant: Bonding with seniors over a bike ride and a meal

Santropol roulant: Bonding with seniors over a bike ride and a meal

Meals-on-wheels / Montréal

Although Québec has approximately 300 meals-on-wheels programs, including about 100 in Montréal, Santropol Roulant is the only intergenerational one. University students represent the majority of people who deliver hot meals by bicycle or on foot to the elderly or people with losses of independence who want to stay at home for as long as possible. Today, 300 clients per year benefit from this hot-meal delivery service.

The average client age is 77, but the youngest client is 22 and the oldest is 103. Every year, the program delivers 21,000 meals, 5 days a week. Santropol Roulant makes deliveries in the evening, at the end of the day, and on Saturdays. Clients pay for half of the meal costs, and all clients are referred to the agency by their CLSC. Since poverty in seniors is greater among women compared to men, women represent 61% of Santropol Roulant clients.

Kateri Décary, Meals-on-Wheels Director, described how original this project is:

“Every day, young and old people aren’t likely to run into each other. Santropol Roulant’s meal deliveries create a space for them to meet and talk. The service helps reduce the prejudices that seniors have of young people and the ones that young people have of seniors. The program really creates beautiful relationships.”

A multitude of projects supported by meals-on-wheels volunteers have sprung up over time. On the roof of the agency, they grow vegetables and tend to beehives to produce their own honey. To avoid waste and process their own food, they make preserves and produce their own compost. Every year, they organize meet-ups between meals-on-wheels volunteers and clients and also run a community bike workshop, where volunteers and members can learn to repair bikes at an affordable cost.

“The LÉGER FOUNDATION has been a long-standing partner. We really count on their funding. Non-profit organizations have to fundraise every year to make enough money to offer their services. Our partnership with the LÉGER FOUNDATION means we can keep running our activities and plan for the future, which also helps us predict the impact of our programs. The benefits of this partnership are invaluable!”

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