Volunteers with the assembly line of meals ready for delivery this week. (Kris Huddlestan photo)

Hardy Bay Seniors’ Centre doubling down to build community during COVID-19

The volunteer-run group is cooking meals and checking in on isolated seniors

The world might be in the middle of a contagious disease pandemic, but the Hardy Bay Senior Citizens’ Society is not letting it stop them. At the seniors’ centre on Thursday, several masked volunteers were cooking, packing and delivering meals to isolated seniors.

“We are packing up meals for 44 seniors. We’ve cooked two different entrees, salad, soup and snacks,” said vice-chair Kris Huddlestan. They’ve started to cook and deliver meals every Thursday, with financial support from a United Way grant they received May 13.

A few days before, on Mother’s Day, the society distributed 150 goody bags of soup, buns, treats, a chocolate bar, a plant and a handwritten card. The members were thrilled to receive it, and the next day the board applied for the United Way grant. Two days later, the were approved, and started cooking the first meal: a “to die for” beef stew.

This week they baked salmon in lemon, served with rice and steamed vegetables, and homemade macaroni and cheese. A dozen eggs were included in each delivery, thanks to a donation of 200 dozen eggs from Loaves & Fishes in Nanaimo.

They have enough grant funding to keep up the weekly meal delivery until June 14, and will continue as long as they have food, or until they get another grant.

The busy 228-member Hardy Bay Senior Citizens’ Centre is normally open five days a week. Every Tuesday before COVID-19, they served lunch to between 50 and 60 guests. They also have libraries, comfort rooms, a pool table, a crafts centre and a greenhouse where volunteers grow produce for the lunches.

“It’s just $20 a year, and you really get a lot of benefits for it,” Huddlestan said. “You can come, you’re over 19, that’s all you have to be!”

The centre is closed right now, except for the Thursday meal delivery, but members are still working hard from home.

On top of the meals, they have a watch list of more than 70 seniors. Volunteers call to check in daily, or weekly.

“We’re really interested in keeping the sense of family among the group,” said Rosaline Glynn, board chair. If you know of a senior who needs a check-in or a meal, reach out to the Hardy Bay Seniors Citizens’ Society.

READ MORE: Seniors’ Defence Initiative is up and running in Port Hardy

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:
zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca.


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Salmon with vegetables and rice. (Kris Huddlestan photo)

Elizabeth Greenberg, dishing out mac & cheese. (Kris Huddlestan photo)

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