Meet Veronica Strauss
Veronica Strauss wants you to know something. That there are people in our community who need help, people who are sometimes alone, elderly, and have few resources. She should know because for the past four and half years the Masters of Accounting Graduate from the University of Waterloo and Finance Manager at Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) has been a volunteer for Community Support Connections - Meals on Wheels and More (CSC). Currently, Veronica is the President of the Board and is very committed to making a difference in her community.
“I am passionate about the work we do to ensure the residents we serve have meals provided for them on a daily basis. But providing meals is not the only thing we do. Often the volunteer delivering the meal is the only visit our clients receive on a daily basis. Our caring volunteers provide a smile and community connection to all of our clients. Importantly, they are also trained to report any irregularities back to our Care Coordinators. For example, if a resident is showing signs of hoarding or other behaviors that may impact health and well-being, volunteers will connect with our staff to consult on next steps. The Care Coordinators can help the clients seamlessly connect with other services internally, or another agency as required. Other CSC services include transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, friendly visiting, telephone reassurance, community dining, gentle exercise, homemaking, home maintenance, snow removal, yard work, crisis intervention. This is why we are called Meals on Wheels and More.”
For Veronica, volunteering for this agency is personal. “Aging at home is an inevitable process. It’s important to me to be involved in providing services that makes a difference in someone’s life – a father, mother, a grandparent. I think this is a demographic (the elderly) that is sometimes forgotten.”
Veronica sees firsthand the benefits of an integrated health system. Her agency sees themselves as a door for residents that then opens to all services available to them. As a Governor within the local health system, Veronica not only believes in collaboration between health service providers but feels it is essential for the health of her community.
This belief is strengthened by her experiences in East-Africa where sense of community is the life blood of its people. “Part of my job at MEDA, where I have been working for the past three and a half years, is to visit field staff and to help them train and develop skills for financial management and reporting. These visits help me to see challenges differently and to have a deeper appreciation for my community back home. I am often inspired by what I see in my travels and fortunate to be able to bring what I have seen or learned back home.”
Veronica has just completed her first year of a two-year term as President. She looks forward to continuing to help make a difference in the lives of those who may never know her name, but will always be grateful for her work that makes their lives that much better.
Community Support Connections – Meals on Wheels and More is a local charitable organization that provides a range of supports and services that enable seniors and adults with disabilities to live at home with independence and dignity.
It is just one of 74 health service providers funded by the Waterloo Wellington LHIN.