Meals on Wheels in Port Alberni loses kitchen under BCLC’s gaming centre closure

The Cypress restaurant at Chances Rimrock usually cooks for homebound clients

Volunteers with Meals on Wheels package up extra meals for their clients at Chances Rim Rock Casino. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

The sudden closure of all gaming centres and casinos in British Columbia has left the Alberni Valley’s Meals on Wheels program in a meal crisis.

Chances Rimrock’s kitchen staff has been preparing weekly Meals on Wheels meals for clients for the past five years. Due to the BC Lottery Corporation’s decision to close gaming centres due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cypress restaurant kitchen was to close down on Monday, March 16.

“They’ve kindly agreed to put together a bigger package of meals for clients today,” Meals on Wheels spokesperson Dawna Sawyer said.

The kitchen is normally closed on Mondays, so residents receive meals Tuesday through Saturday.

Clients usually receive one meal on Tuesday and then enough on Friday to last through the weekend. “Going forward we’re investigating different ways of maintaining this program over the COVID-19 crisis, because we have clients who depend on our service,” Sawyer said. “We are trying to stay in operation.”

Normally there are five drivers volunteering each day to deliver meals to clients, but the call went out Monday for all 25-30 drivers to show up at 3 p.m. to pick up larger-than-normal meal totes and deliver them.

Vishal Dewli, Chances Rimrocks’ food and beverage general manager, said he is doing everything he can to ensure Meals on Wheels clients are fed. “We’re working to a solution to be able to support this program,” he said late Monday.

“We have the meals figured out for the next five days and we should have something in place for them.”

Some of the Chances kitchen staff will be retained to cook meals, and both Dewli and Sawyer are looking for another commercial kitchen to use.

The closure “is a BCLC directive at this time,” Dewli said. “They’re looking at us as a gaming centre; we’re trying to tell them we’re in a unique situation.”

Chances has approached BCLC to make an exception so they can open the kitchen for a number of hours and make meals to be delivered.

Anyone wanting more information about Meals on Wheels can call 250-730-0390.

CoronavirusGamingPort Alberni

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre looking for artists to exhibit in 2021

Gallery is currently closed due to COVID-19 concerns

Scotiabank helps hockey at home

Alberni Valley Minor Hockey Association’s annual donation helps peewee teams

Agricultural Land Commission letter could halt operations at McLean Mill

National historic site near Port Alberni set to host a number of events if COVID-19 doesn’t interrupt

Mural planned for entrance to Port Alberni’s Harbour Quay

Arrowsmith Rotary project falls under the theme ‘building relationships’

City of Port Alberni to review 2020 budget in response to COVID-19

Deadline for final budget adoption is May 15

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Controversial Cowichan tiny house still in place after removal deadline

Cowichan Valley Regional District had ordered it removed by March 15

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

B.C.’s intersection speed cameras putting more tickets in the mail

One Nanaimo location delayed after speed limit reduced

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

High cost, limited coverage for asthma medicine a concern during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. man says he skips puffs to save money, but others have it worse

Vancouver Island’s ‘Project Draw Breath’ expands and diversifies to battle pandemic

Grassroots team working to up supplies of ventilators, other equipment during COVID-19 crisis

B.C. man sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Green says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Most Read