LETHBRIDGE -- A community campaign in Lethbridge is about to get rolling as Meals on Wheels kicks off its 23 Days of Christmas campaign on Wednesday.

Now in its 13th year, the initiative runs throughout the month of December and helps to provide those in need with a fresh, cooked meal.

“We’re at a time right now where we’re more stuck at home and the importance that we have the ability for people to live independently in their homes," said Ryan Miller, president of Teamwork Training Ltd.

"The work that this organization does to allow that person to have a hot meal every single day is critical work."

On average, 2,000 meals are delivered throughout the 23 days leading up to Christmas. The goal of the campaign is to raise $30,000 to keep the Meals on Wheels fully operational through the rest of the year, which has almost been met.

“This year is off to a great start, we have already raised $25,000, 80 per cent of our goal, by the launch of the campaign,” said Miller.

Meals on Wheels has operated in Lethbridge since 1970 and provides more than 100 hot and nutritious meals per day.

The service has raised over $250,000 since it launched. Now a part of the Lethbridge Senior Citizen Organization, volunteers are relied on to assist with the delivery of the meals daily.

“Money from this initiative goes to subsidizing the cost of meals. It doesn’t pay for the meals like we think it does, what it does is allows us to charge way less for the meals than it does for our kitchen to produce them,” said Rob Miyashiro, executive director of the LSCO.

It isn’t just Meals on Wheels helping out, the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta is also celebrating the recipients of the Random Act of Kindness Day that kicked off earlier this month.

Participants in RAK Day were encouraged to share their kind acts with the Community Foundation and 10, $500 grants have been given to local charitable organizations across the city as a result of that campaign.

“The idea is to always just keep paying it forward,” said Charleen Davidson, executive director of the Community Foundation. “If we’re performing kind acts everyday I think we’d be a much happier society. We’re coming into the holiday season when we are traditionally happy, so let’s just keep that kindness flowing all year round.

“Whether you’re the one performing the kind act or the recipient of a kind act, that one small act really does brighten your day."

After a tough year for fundraisers, organizations in Lethbridge say having these type of initiatives during the holiday season is vital for supporting everyone in the community.     

“Now is a great time to think about the charity of your choice and give them a little bit of extra support. Charities are working really hard, it's been a hard couple of years for everyone especially the charitable sector, which has really felt it,” said Davidson.

Kindness Grant recipients include:

  • Covenant Health;
  • St. Michael’s Health Centre;
  • Green Acres Foundation;
  • Piyami Lodge;
  • Lethbridge and District Humane Society;
  • Lethbridge Food Bank;
  • Lethbridge Soup Kitchen;
  • Milo Library;
  • Palliser School Division – Sunnyside School;
  • Town of Claresholm Arts Society;
  • Town of Picture Butte Firefighters Association, and;
  • YWCA Harbour House.

To donate to the Meals on Wheels campaign, you can become an honourary chef, which sponsors a full day of meals, or you can purchase a Christmas card to sponsor one meal.