COVID-19 hasn’t been too bad for me, in terms of spending a lot of time alone. I was a truck driver for 30 years. I drove coast to coast in Canada and used to pick up and deliver at Gibbard’s and always liked Napanee.
When COVID hit I secluded myself big-time. I have asthma, COPD, and MS. The MS forced me into retirement five years ago, at age 55. I expected to be able to work at least ten more years, and never anticipated living on such a low income.
I’m divorced. I have children but they don’t live nearby. It’s just me in Napanee. I guess I’m like a lot of people in this community who shoulder the cost of living on a low-income alone.
Because of my health risks I really have kept to myself during the pandemic. It was two months before I went out—and even now I usually just go out for daily exercise. At first it cost $35 to have someone do my grocery shopping and bring it to the door. After paying for rent, phone, and my fall-safe device, there just isn’t money left to pay to have food delivered.
I’ve been going to Morningstar Mission for almost four years for the Saturday worship service, men’s breakfast and the community meals. And before my MS got worse I volunteered: washed tables, mopped floors, canned tomatoes, and even helped Kevin’s mother paint the bathroom. I can’t do that now with the MS: my right hand doesn’t work and my back and neck get sore. Standing and doing dishes is very exhausting.
I miss Morningstar and seeing friends and familiar faces, but this Mobile Community Meal Program has been a saviour. It cuts out trips to the store. I eat healthy—even my vegetables, because I know they are good for me. Without it I would have to shop more, cook more, clean more and MS makes all of those things a struggle. These meals give me breathing room: physically and financially.
I want to thank you Kevin, for all that you do, and the Community Foundation for helping to fund this meal outreach. More than anyone, though, I want to thank Morningstar’s volunteers: they’re very brave people. Right from the beginning of the pandemic they were running around town, fearlessly delivering meals to homes and apartments.
I am looking forward to going back to Morningstar when we’re ready to fire up again. In the meantime I’m grateful for today, and for being as strong as I can be because I eat properly.
To support the eradication of poverty in Greater Napanee and Lennox & Addington County you can make a donation to Morningstar Relief Mission, volunteer in support of our Mobile Community Meal Program or support the Community Foundation for Lennox and Addington's No Poverty 180 fund.