Burnaby development funds new Meals on Wheels program

Food and shelter are basic needs - it's not common for one to boost the other.

But one developer, Decorus Developments Inc., is making that happen by donating $1,000 from the sale of each of 16 remaining condo units in the Sequel development to a new Burnaby Meals on Wheels program.

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"While one-time donations help start new programs and build capacity, they need ongoing, long -term support to maintain our services," Stephen D'Souza, executive director of Meals on Wheels Burnaby, said in a press release. "This is an excellent example of the type of long-term commitment that can help make a big difference in our community."

The donation will help fund new programming at Meals on Wheels, including a pilot project called Let's do Lunch, a unique meal-sharing program, according to the release.

Currently, each volunteer driver delivers meals to about eight different clients per day, the release stated, but the new program would have a volunteer deliver to only one client while also bringing a meal for themselves, so they can enjoy lunch together.

"Hunger is a hollow feeling. It leaves you empty and exhausted. You can hunger from malnutrition or loneliness," D'Souza said. "By sharing a meal, we hope to help break the cycle of isolation that so many of our home bound clients feel."

Each donation of $1,000 can cover 33 visits through the new program, and the $16,000 overall can provide 480 shared meals with 40 clients once a month.

The cheque from the first new condo sale was given to Meals on Wheels staff at the official groundbreaking for the Sequel development at 7727 Royal Oak Ave. at the end of August.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan was at the event, along with staff from Meals on Wheels and the developers.

"Sequel is a remarkable model for longterm commitment, dedicated to bettering the lives of others. Not just for new homeowners, but for the entire city of Burnaby," Corrigan said in the release. "This is a groundbreaking opportunity."

He also challenged other developers to make similar charitable donations.

"We didn't realize how much our donation would help Meals on Wheels," Mayur Kothary, a partner with Decorus Developments, said in a followup statement emailed to the NOW. "We are humbled by the mayor's gesture of encouragement to other industry leaders. Blending new home ownership with charity is a great cause in itself, and also creates awareness about how others can get involved in their community."

Kothary participated in an excavator dig-off race against Corrigan at the event, promoted as the "Mayor versus Mayur" race.

jfuller-evans@burnabynow.com

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