Committee members of Chemainus Meals on Wheels gathered for a small picnic July 29 to honour (Betty) Elizabeth Martindale. She retires as chair of the MOW Committee after 29 years of service.
During the picnic, Martindale reminisced about her time with the organization. After her husband (Marty) George Henry Martindale died in 1990, friend Joy Kitchner encouraged Martindale to join the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary and MOW as a driver.
‘It was all about meeting new people, getting to know them and enjoying the working companionship,” said Martindale.
As well as MOW, she enjoyed working at the Thrift Store every other Saturday morning and serving tea at the old hospital and the new Health Care Centre every Friday afternoon.
“I have known Betty for many years,” writes Edna Brown. “She was always a willing helper and someone whom you knew would always be there ready to do her bit. She was very cheerful regardless of how she felt. I am so pleased you are honoring Betty since I know how deserving of an accolade she is.”
The Chemainus Hospital Auxiliary inaugurated the Meals on Wheels Program in 1976, thanks in part to the efforts of Vi Chang. In 1977, it became a separate organization under the sponsorship of the Auxiliary. Several service clubs, including the Rotary and local churches, were instrumental in providing the seed money.
Jean McDonald was one of the early conveners, with Lillian Beaubier and Arnold Cherry as co-chairs in the early ’80s. Brown was convener for two years from 1984-86 then John Bouthillier took over as convener for many years.
Martindale served as co-chair with Bouthillier until he retired. She then became the chair and Esther Craig joined as co-chair in 2003.
Over the years, many long-time Chemainus residents served as drivers, including: Joan Allester, Brenda Bewcyk, Susan Beaubier, Shirley Eastman, Rondeau Fenton, Annette Faulkner, Peggie Mankelow, Bonnie Vater, Al Brown, Kathryn Mead, Ev Thompson, Betty Guild, John Palou, Goldie Gudal, Eileen Hughes, and Rex and Georgina Hollett.
In the beginning, only three people received meals, gradually increasing to a dozen and then in 1984 and ‘85, the government allowed up to 25 recipients so the number of drivers doubled.
The numbers increased until there were upwards of 40 recipients each day with two routes, one north and one south. All this changed when the government built assisted living facilities – The Steeples in Chemainus, the Lodge on Fourth in Ladysmith and others around the Cowichan Valley. Meals On Wheels presently operates one route.
MOW is an integral part of the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary’s activities and operates under the guidance of the Ministry of Health. It is funded by grants from The Municipality of North Cowichan and Island Health. The service is available at a reasonable rate to all persons who need meal assistance because of a medical issue.
Current committee members are: Esther Craig (chair), Judy Sherwood (co-chair), Janet Mitchell (secretary-treasurer), Susan Hart (member) and Loreen Milligan (public relations).
Anyone requiring meals should call Craig with a request for an interview at 250-246-2422.