Sometimes a small gesture makes a big difference in someone’s life. Especially if that someone is elderly, alone or in poor health.

For more than 30 years now, the Town of Brome Lake Wellness Volunteer Centre has been making a big difference in so many people’s lives, helping them to live more independently.

Wellness, as they became known, makes sure that meals on wheels reach the 10 to 15 people who rely on them four days a week; they drive people to their medical or other important appointments sometimes as far as Montreal or Sherbrooke; they organize special lunches on Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day and Thanksgiving so that people can share a good meal and come out of isolation; they arrange for seniors and their caregivers to have a day off twice a month; they run an alert system button for seniors living alone; they arrange one-on-one ‘friendly visits’ with people who otherwise would be alone, sometimes forgotten. Small gestures that can make such a difference.

“Of course, the pandemic forced quite a few changes in our activities’’ said Gib Rotherham, Wellness president in a telephone interview with Tempo. “The age of our volunteers – most are over 70 – was an issue’’ and yet ensuring the delivery of meals on wheels was especially important. “The town helped us out,” says Rotherham. “Ross Clarke, the assistant Fire Chief, ended up doing most of the deliveries for us.’’ Holding the Mother’s Day luncheon attended by as many as 100 people each year was out of the question, yet lightening up people’s lives during lockdown was especially needed. “So we decided to bring cake and flowers to people. Lenore Dudley prepared the cakes and IGA’s Madame Gazaille supplied 150 long-stemmed roses that volunteers distributed. That touched so many people. So much so that we decided to do another special delivery for Father’s Day!’’

“We have reached beyond our regular base this year and that’s great,” muses Rotherham. “We reach people who have lived here forever as well as newcomers to the town. We are a bilingual group. We want to reach more francophones, providing services to our community is what matters.’’

Yearly provincial grant

Volunteers don’t cost much in pay, but organizing activities year-round requires some funds. Wellness relies on a provincial grant every year to carry out its programs.

Watch out for another Wellness surprise for Thanksgiving. Incidentally, what a better time to say a big thank you to all those who make Wellness part of the fabric of our community.

To reach Wellness or require a service, call Centre Lac-Brome: 450-242-2020.