Lara New. (Photo: Submitted)

USask Unites: Student volunteers to keep Meals on Wheels rolling

Since the first cases of COVID-19 were announced in the province, members of the USask community have come together to support one another in these uncertain times.

Extraordinary circumstances have brought out extraordinary responses from members of our USask community. From frontline health-care workers to researchers looking for a solution to this global health threat, there are so many stories about people who are working to make our home communities safer and healthy. Here are a few of the inspiring stories of our students, staff, faculty and alumni.

Lara New was finishing up her first year of a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in cellular, physiological and pharmacological sciences and earning a 90 per cent overall average, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit last spring.

That’s when the University of Saskatchewan student decided to use her summer to volunteer in her home community of Swift Current.

“Lara came to me like an angel at a time of desperate need,” said Jolene Reimer, volunteer co-ordinator for the Saskatchewan Health Authority in southwest Saskatchewan. “She volunteered to deliver Meals on Wheels in Swift Current every day in July and August.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no volunteers over the age of 65 were able to help out in Saskatchewan Health Authority programs once the pandemic hit.

“The restrictions left us with less than 10 per cent of our Meals on Wheels volunteers able to continue delivering meals,” Reimer noted.

Meals on Wheels is an essential service that many home care clients rely on to provide hot or prepared meals regularly, ensuring the clients receive balanced meals and proper nutrition.

“With the pandemic, I was not able to find a job and wanted to use my time to help others and give a hand during this very difficult time,” said New.

Her advice to others?

“Volunteering is definitely worth it. It helps you learn new skills, meet new people and makes you feel really good knowing that you are helping other people, especially now in a time of isolation.”

New also volunteered at the Salvation Army Food Bank in the summer. Now that she has returned to university studies, she has reached out to offer to continue volunteering.

“I have been really missing delivering meals,” she told Reimer, volunteering to delivery once a week.

“She’s an awesome young lady,” Reimer noted.

The SHA is always looking for volunteers. If anyone has some time during the noon hour please contact your local Volunteer Services Coordinator or click on the link to become an SHA Volunteer.

This story was originally published through the Saskatchewan Health Authority. 

Share your stories with us: We are collecting the stories of resilience and good spirit from our USask community. Please send story ideas and photos to news@usask.ca.

As a community it is critical that we support each other and remain respectful during what is a difficult time for all of us. Please follow all guidelines and take all precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our community.

How you can help our students during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://alumni.usask.ca/news/2020/covid-19-how-you-can-help-our-students.php

For the latest developments and information about the University of Saskatchewan's response to COVID-19, please go to www.usask.ca/updates.

The University of Saskatchewan is undertaking critical research and contributing to global efforts to combat COVID-19. The University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO-InterVac) is a world leader in developing vaccines and technologies to combat infectious diseases. Your support of the COVID-19 Research Fund supports the increased efforts of researchers at the University of Saskatchewan to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. Donate now.

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