Staff profile: Kathleen Whelan, Program Coordinator, New Dawn Meals on Wheels

Meet Kathleen Whelan, Program Coordinator of New Dawn Meals on Wheels. You might have talked to her on the phone, or seen her delivering a route, or met her helping out at a workshop.

Kathleen coordinates the Meals On Wheels volunteer drivers for delivery routes twice a day, 5 days a week, and schedules the Meals On Wheels volunteers in the kitchen to help with meal preparation and packaging. She also looks after client relations including meal ordering and payment, scheduling workshops, securing funding and donations — even covering routes when there aren't enough volunteers!

"The opportunity to work with New Dawn and with Meals On Wheels seemed like something that would be the best of both worlds — making a living while stimulating positive change in the community," says Kathleen. "My instincts were right!"

At New Dawn Meals On Wheels, volunteers are the heart of our program. Without them, our meal delivery service would not be able to operate anywhere near its current level. New Dawn Meals On Wheels is committed to keeping the cost of the meals affordable and we haven't raised the price of our meals since 2011 — even as the cost of food continues to climb. Having dedicated, reliable volunteers to help paid staff is the only way we have been able to do this.

"Our volunteers also bring a special level of selflessness, joy, and love to our program that I’ve yet to see anywhere else I’ve worked," says Kathleen.

A future goal for the organization is to expand the program to cover a greater geographical area. This will require an even greater amount of coordination and consideration, including food safety regulations in relation to time/temperature controls, volunteer availability, and a viable number of clients in a certain area. Another of the organization's goals in 2020 will be making the program more environmentally accountable and sustainable.