What would you choose, having a roof over your head or food in your stomach?
It’s a difficult question that no one should have to answer. Food insecurity – not knowing where your next meal is coming from – is a constant threat for many people. And it comes with difficult trade-offs. Putting food on the table often means sacrificing another basic need. This was the case for 60-year-old Mickey. But because of your generosity, Mickey doesn’t have to choose.
Mickey is a slender man. His blue eyes reveal a soulful depth and gentle warmth. By his side is a wheeling walker. It’s a reminder that his body no longer functions as it once did. His face lights up as he shares stories from his younger years. But then the confusion sets in. The tone of his voice shifts as he tries to grab hold of the fading memories. “My mind is very frustrating for me to be honest.”
Mickey figured he was just a little forgetful before he was officially diagnosed with dementia. Cooking, grocery shopping, financial management and things he once did with ease became nearly impossible. His condition makes him extremely vulnerable. Finding safe and affordable housing after losing his ability to work has been a struggle. So much so that he stayed at a local shelter for a while. One evening during his stay, Mickey left the shelter to go for a stroll. But when it came time to return, he couldn’t remember how to get back. Mickey slept outside in sub-zero temperatures that night.
By nothing short of a miracle, Mickey was introduced to a support worker who found him a stable apartment to live it. There was a gas station across the street that Mickey started doing his grocery shopping at. It was visible from his apartment building, which meant he didn’t have to worry about getting lost. He quickly learned that overpaying for food staples at the gas station wasn’t sustainable on a fixed income. Partway into each month he’d run out of money. The gas station wasn’t affordable but going to the grocery store meant risking another night on the street. So, Mickey went hungry.
His weight plummeted to dangerous levels and his body stopped functioning properly. His support worker saw his health decline and recommended Meals on Wheels. His first meal was in April 2020. In less than a month he was up 10 lbs. By September he had gained a total of 17 lbs and his health had improved drastically!
“Without Meals on Wheels I’d probably be blowing away in the wind. Now I’m getting my weight up and more stable. I’m sure it will continue to get better.” It wasn’t just his physical health that improved. Meals on Wheels has also helped his mental wellbeing. It gets lonely inside his bachelor suite, so he enjoys chatting with the volunteer who delivers his meals.
The pandemic has brought its own set of problems for Mickey. Fortunately, worrying about how he’ll feed himself is no longer one of them. “I’m very grateful during this pandemic. When they bring me my meals I don’t have to worry.”
Your support has been a critical piece of Mickey’s story. He was able to receive a nourishing meal when he needed it most because people like you exist. Without donations from individuals like yourself, we don’t know how Mickey’s story would have ended. He stands in front of us today feeling hopeful about the road ahead. And it’s all thanks to your generosity.
Mickey is not alone. Vulnerable, senior, isolated, and homebound Edmontonians turn to us when they have no other option. We see a surge in the number of people who need our service each winter. And we can’t help them alone. Your donation, no matter how large or small, will ensure that those in need won’t be overlooked. No senior forgotten. Please send your gift today.