Aug 10, 2020

By Christine Ross

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The COVID-19 pandemic has kept many seniors from volunteering. But despite being most at risk, a group of motivated Toronto seniors continue to volunteer with Meals On Wheels bringing isolated seniors more than just a hot meal.

79-year-old Carmela Cobham has been volunteering with the program for 15 years and says giving back is in her DNA.

“I want to give back,” says Carmela. “If the clients want to talk, I’ll take a few extra minutes because I know they’re isolated.”

     photo: Red Cross

Like Carmela, 79-year-old Adrian Smith loves his role with Meals on Wheels where’s he’s been volunteering for 24 years.

“I had to keep doing it and I enjoy it,” says Adrian.

     photo: Red Cross

Both seniors know the risks of COVID-19 on their age group but that didn’t stop them. The only change in routine was adding gloves and a mask. Inspired by these seniors paying it forward, Suzanne Leonard profiled them in an article she wrote for the Red Cross.

“I think it would come as a big surprise to many people that there are seniors that stepped up and did more during the pandemic, not less,” Leonard told Zoomer news.

Suzanne has been volunteering with the program since early last year, joining others aged 22 to 92 to give back to their community.

“They’re providing a meal service, a friendly check in service and are really providing a bit of a lifeline at a time of great need.”

These special seniors bring energy, humility, humour and life experience to their volunteer role.

“Why shouldn’t I take the time to help others,” says Carmela.

For more information on the Meals on Wheels program, visit

Listen to this report here.

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