COURSE INFORMATION V302 - Meals On Wheels Online Module










1.1 Learning Objectives Printer friendly version

Upon completion of this module, you should be able to:

  • understand the purpose of the Meals On Wheels program and its importance to the community;
  • understand who uses the program;
  • understand the volunteer’s role and time commitment required in the program and get the most out of the volunteer experience;
  • understand the qualities and skills volunteers need for the various positons available in the Meals on Wheels program;
  • understand food handling procedures (pdf format) and relevant policies and reporting procedures; and
  • make deliveries to clients.


1.2 Completing the Module

In order to get the most out of this learning experience please read the required readings, respond to the reflective activities, and undertake a knowledge check. If you would like to discuss some of the topics in this module with others click on Talk With Others

It you have a question that you are unable to get answered in the readings or in the Talk With Others section send it


1.3 Readings

The required reading for this module can be found by clicking on the items listed below:

If you require a refresher on general volunteering with VON click on V100 – Volunteer Online Orientation in the Volunteer Learning Centre. The Volunteer Online Orientation includes the following Modules:

Module 1 – About VON

Module 2 – Volunteers in VON

Module 3 – Involvement

Module 4 – Important Facts

Module 5 – What if Situations


1.3.1 What Is Meals On Wheels?

The Meals on Wheels Program is a voluntary community service for individuals who are unable for reasons of lack of strength, skills, or equipment to prepare adequate meals. The purpose of the program is to improve the nutritional status of these individuals, to provide a regular social contact and check on their safety and well-being. Meals on Wheels enables recipients to remain comfortable and independent in their own home.

Volunteers deliver meals to the homes of people unable to shop or cook. Hot, nourishing meals are prepared in government-inspected kitchens, through commercial caterers or in kitchens in the community that meet the provincial legislation for food preparation.


1.3.2 Who Uses The Meals On Wheels Program?

Meals are delivered to residents of the community who may be:

  • Elderly and frail
  • Convalescing from the hospital
  • Suffering from a Chronic Illness
  • Adults with physical disabilities
  • New Moms


1.3.3 What Do Volunteers Do?

NOTE: Not all volunteer positions outlined below will be available at every branch. Speak to your Program Coordinator to find out which positions are available in your area.

In some programs, two volunteers travel in each car. Volunteer drivers provide the vehicle and drive the route, and volunteer servers go into the client’s home with the meal. While in the home the volunteer shares a few friendly moments, and checks on the well-being and safety of the client. In other programs one volunteer acts as both driver and server.

In some programs, other volunteer opportunities are available. For example, volunteer clerical assistance may be needed in the Meal On Wheels office or day captains may be needed to assist with counting meals and loading meals into carrying equipment.

Volunteer Drivers

Volunteer drivers must have a safe driving record and possess a valid driver’s license and the required car insurance. The drivers should also have consistent access to a safe and reliable vehicle, and should be punctual and dependable.

  • arrive at the food source, depot or office at the appointed time
  • pick up the meals to be delivered
  • check meals against the delivery sheet
  • deliver meals on the route with the assistance of the server or on their own
  • return empty delivery containers to the food source, depot or kitchen
  • report any problems to the Program Coordinator

Volunteer Servers

  • meet the driver at the food source, depot or office at the appointed time
  • help the driver check meals against the delivery sheet
  • assist the driver with delivery of meals
  • report any problems to the Program Coordinator

Also, volunteer servers must be able to climb stairs and disembark from a vehicle many times.

Volunteer Clerical Assistance

There's always paperwork!

Duties will vary depending upon the need, but may include any of the following:

    • Photocopying
    • Filing
    • Telephoning
    • Computer input
    • Special Events
    • Fundraising

Day Captains

The Day Captain is responsible for scheduling volunteers to deliver meals on a specified route and for keeping the Program Coordinator informed about ill or retiring volunteers. This is a long-term position requiring good telephone skills and organizing abilities and can be done completely from home. The Program Coordinator provides you with a list of volunteers who are available for the MOW program, and supports you if you have any problems. The schedule for the upcoming month can be prepared as you have the time and will be provided to the Program Coordinator the last week of the month.

Since meals are delivered at midday, volunteer drivers and servers need to be available for approximately two hours at midday. A schedule will be mutually agreed upon depending on the availability of the volunteer and the needs of the Meals On Wheels program.

Volunteers receive a written job description. A sample job description can be viewed by clicking on Meals on Wheels Driver or Meals on Wheels Runner/Helper (pdf format).   An appropriate orientation and training session from the coordinator is provided. The length of this session is reduced for those that have completed the Volunteer Online Orientation and this Meals On Wheels Online Module.


1.3.4 What Qualities And Skills Do Volunteers Need?

Volunteer drivers:

  • a good driving record;
  • possess a valid driver’s licence and required insurance coverage;
  • access to a reliable vehicle;
  • enjoys working with seniors and adults with physical disabilities;
  • ability to work with people, and
  • dependable and punctual.

Volunteer servers:

  • warmth and caring;
  • dependability and trustworthiness;
  • tolerant and the ability to be non-judgemental;
  • dependable and punctual
  • good communication skills; ability to work with people; and
  • ability to set aside own concerns to focus on the needs of the client.
  • respectful of the privacy and feelings of others
  • ability to navigate stairs and easily get in and out of vehicle several times

Day Captains:

  • dependable and punctual;
  • a good organizer;
  • good communication skills; and
  • ability to work with people
  • respectful of the privacy and feelings of others

Office Volunteer

  • dependable, trustworthy;
  • enjoys working in an office environment;
  • organized/flexible;
  • good communication skills; and
  • ability to work with people.
  • respectful of the privacy and feelings of others


1.3.5 How Do I Become a Volunteer in the Meals On Wheels program?

  1. Complete volunteer application
  2. Attend an interview
  3. Provide two references and complete a police check
  4. Attend an orientation/training session (there may be more than one)
  5. Begin volunteer position
  6. Attend ongoing training sessions


1.3.6 Delivery of Services

In addition to the Important Facts and What If situations listed in the Volunteer Online Orientation, practical tips specific to meals on wheels have been developed.

The following lists some practical tips that may help you in your role as a Meals On Wheels volunteer. Meal Delivery Routine

  • The volunteers will be instructed on where and what time to pick up the meals
  • When you arrive please wear or have with you your volunteer identification provided by VON
  • Please wait for the meals and route sheet in the designated pick up area
  • Please read the route sheet carefully and make note of any changes or special instructions
  • The meals will be packed in the delivery containers in the same order as the names on the route sheet
  • Make sure each recipient receives their designated meal

Top Visit Etiquette

When you visit each recipient there are a few things to remember

  • Introduce yourself, be friendly and call them by name
  • Ask where they would like the meal to be placed
  • Suggest that the meal be put in the fridge if they are not going to eat it right away. (All recipients receive a Caring for your Meal booklet with their first meal)
  • If recipient is not home DO NOT leave the meal unless alternate arrangements have been made prior to delivery
  • Return any undelivered meals to the food source and inform the Program Coordinator
  • Your job is to deliver a hot meal to the recipient, please keep the visit short
  • Return the delivery containers back to the food source or other designated site
  • Destroy the route sheets and throw them away or return them to the designated site, depending on branch policy

You should also keep a few things in mind:

  • Be non-judgemental regarding other people's lifestyle or personal habits. Always treat people with respect
  • Do not give medical advice or administer drugs of any kind
  • Personal care is not part of your job e.g. washing, dressing or combing hair
  • Do not give legal advice
  • Do not interfere in family problems
  • Never give out your phone number
  • Please contact the office if the recipient has any comments or complaints, or if you have any concerns
  • If there is an emergency call the Meals on Wheels office or 911 to report the incident, then continue your deliveries
  • Give adequate warning to the Meals on Wheels staff when you are unable to volunteer. If you are sick do not deliver any meals. We will gladly find a substitute until you recover
  • Remember you are the LINK we have with the recipients, so please keep us informed. Your job is to deliver meals, if the recipient asks you to do other things please refer them to the VON office. Staff can follow up with the client and direct them to other services that may be of assistance.

Top Responding to Special Situations

When you notice a change in the client’s health or living conditions; when clients complain about their living conditions, doctors, nurses, and/or family members; listen but do not advise; report problem or concern to the program coordinator.

In Case Of Medical Emergency

Be aware of the procedures to follow in the event of any emergency. If you discover a client who has fallen call 911 and the VON office, do not move the client.

In Case of an Accident

A. At the Scene of the Accident:

Involvement in an auto accident is frightening and traumatic. It is not always a simple matter to remain calm when enveloped in a chaotic and confused situation. If you are driving as a volunteer for VON you have the additional concern that a client may be waiting for their meal.

We suggest following these steps:

  1. Call the Police or Collision Reporting Centre (depending on your area). The Emergency number 9-1-1 (or number for the Collision Reporting Centre) should be used if the collision is serious and there may be the possibility of personal injury.
  1. Report the collision to your program coordinator. The coordinator will want to know the details of the accident for our records and will be most interested in your well-being. The coordinator can also arrange to send help to you for the delivery of the remaining meals.
    1. Obtain the other driver’s personal and vehicle information.
    2. Make sure to include:


      Phone Number:


      Drivers Licence Number:

      The Make, Model and Year of Vehicle:

      Licence Plate Number:

    3. The name, address and telephone number of the registered owner of the other vehicle, if not the same as the driver. This information can be obtained by checking the Vehicle Permit .
    4. Owner’s Name:

      Owner’s Address:

      Owner’s Telephone Number:

    5. The name of the driver's and the vehicle's insurance company, including the policy number. To obtain this information, ask the driver to produce the certificate of insurance. This card is issued to every person who carries Liability Insurance for his or her vehicle and must be carried in the vehicle at all times.
    6. Insurance Company:

      Insurance Policy Number:

    7. The names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses.

      Witness (1) Name:


      Phone Number:

      Witness (2) Name:


      Phone Number:

    1. Note where the damage is located on the vehicles and the extent of damage.
    2. DO NOT ADMIT anything to the other driver. Exchange the information or wait for the police whatever the case may be.
    3. If the police are involved indicate how the collision occurred. If you believe you have caused the accident, do not admit liability for it. You are under no obligation to incriminate yourself. Your obligation is simply to cooperate with the police in the reporting of the collision and to exchange the information with the other driver.
    4. Immediately report the collision to your Insurance Company. They will want the basic information of the collision (location, time and date), the other driver’s insurance information and the vehicle information. If a report has been filed either by the Police Officer or at the Police Station, the insurance company will want the "Police Report File/Incident/Collision Number" and the Police Officer's name and badge number. This is always included on the report.


1.3.7 Policies And Procedures For The Meals On Wheels Program

The policies applicable to volunteers are listed in V100 Volunteer Online Orientation – Module 3. Policies of particular interest to this program are repeated here:

Reimbursement of Expenses

Speak to your Program Coordinator about the branch policy on reimbursement of mileage expenses for MOW. If you wish to donate your reimbursement back to VON, an official tax receipt will be issued at the end of the year. Volunteers are not to accept monetary donations from MOW clients. If a client wishes to make a donation they are requested to mail it directly to the branch.

Car Signs

Some programs provide volunteers with a car sign to be placed on the dashboard of the delivery vehicle. Find out if your branch utilizes car signs.

Liability and Insurance

To protect volunteers VON carries Comprehensive General Liability Insurance that covers all volunteers while acting within the scope of their duties Our coverage will pay those sums that the VON becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury and property damages as a result of an act of negligence by a volunteer. If you are performing activities that fall outside the scope of your position description, VON is not responsible.

It is the responsibility of volunteers undertaking to drive on behalf of VON to carry sufficient automobile insurance to protect the volunteer as an owner/operator in the event of an accident and/or legal suit. VON requires a minimum of $1,000,000 3rd party liability. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to notify the insurance company of volunteer activity.

VON carries Non-owned Automobile Insurance that protects the VON for claims arising out of the use of a vehicle not owned by the organization, but used for the organization’s activities.

In the event of an accident, the primary responsibility for liability or any other costs rests with the volunteer and his/her own insurance company. If a claim is filed that is greater than the minimum coverage required by VON, then VON insurance can be accessed to cover the additional portion of the claim.


1.4 Reflective Activities

Completion of the following activities will help you reflect on the material presented and its application. You may also identify other sources or related information for future reference.

1.5 Check Your Knowledge

Click on and respond to the following to see how well you understand the topic of this module: Knowledge Check – Meals On Wheels

1.6 Talk With Others

A dedicated area has been set aside for individuals interested sharing information. To access the discussion area click on the section: Talk With Others and select – Meals On Wheels.

1.7 Ask the Resource

If you have reviewed the content in this module, searched the web and used the Talk With Others section and you still have a question send it us at the following email address

1.8 Module Development

This module has been developed by Chris Peacock with the assistance of volunteers and staff. Jim Pealow assisted with the conversion of the content for delivery of the course in an online environment. Financial assistance was provided by Human Resources Development Canada – Office of Learning Technology.

1.9 Module Evaluation

Keeping this module relevant for the organization and participants is important and it would be appreciated if you could take a few moments to complete the module evaluation. Click on Module Evaluation  access the evaluation.