SASA expanding Meals on Wheels to Serve Sturgeon County Seniors

Above from left: St. Albert Seniors Association Program Marketing Coordinator Leland Lazowski, Executive Director Linda Ensley, and Special Project Volunteer Coordinator Kim Buehler pose with some frozen meals available to Sturgeon County residents through the newly expanded program. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

A longstanding partnership between the St. Albert Seniors Association (SASA) and Meals on Wheels is expanding to give area residents access to nutritious meals delivered to their community.

“We’re going to expand the Meals on Wheels delivery, which we are doing in St. Albert, but expanding that out to Sturgeon County,” said SASA’s Special Project Volunteer Coordinator Kim Buehler. “We’re connecting with the organizations in the Towns, and we will deliver to them and people that live in the area can come in on the delivery day and pick them up.”

Although specific arrangements in Sturgeon County, Morinville, Legal, Bon Accord, Gibbons and Redwater are in the early stages of discussion, SASA will deliver the meals directly to seniors’ homes in the interim. Seniors can purchase meals online at or by calling 780-459-0433 and have them delivered to their homes for free. 

Locally made meals

St. Albert Seniors Association Program Marketing Coordinator Leland Lazowski, who is heading up the program, said the Meals on Wheels product is made in Edmonton and that while the calories are similar to commercially available frozen meals, the sodium and sugars are considerably less and the protein content higher. 

Lazowski compared Meals on Wheels Turkey Dinner with two leading national brands to find that the local product had 6 grams of sugar, compared to 17g and 22g in the respective national brands. Protein in the local meal was 35 grams, compared to only 16 grams in the two national brand-name products. 

“As you age, that [nutritional value] becomes more and more important,” Lazowski said, noting a recent tour of the Meals on Wheels facility in Edmonton to see the process firsthand. “They’re not freeze-drying anything. It’s not the same as the big brands.”

Buehler agrees with the nutritional value of the product. 

“These Meals on Wheels are made in a kitchen, not a big factory in Ontario and shipped,” she said. “So if you are also conscientious about shopping local and keeping your food local, this is another option.”

Federal Grant Allows Expansion

SASA has been involved with Meals on Wheels for more than four decades, offering the program in St. Albert, but a federal grant from Employment and Social Development Canada has allowed them now to provide the program in the broader Sturgeon region.

Executive Director Linda Ensley said the idea to expand came from discussions at various regional Chamber functions and hearing from municipal leaders, particularly during COVID, about their struggles with providing food and transportation, the number of seniors and the lack of volunteers to help them.

“When this grant came up, I thought, ‘We need to become a backbone organization for this entire county,'” Ensley recalled. “We’re really the biggest game going in this county, and we need to step up to the plate, and we need to be able to provide services to the entire county.”

Ensley said there were three areas of focus where they felt they could help:” food security, friendly visitations, and transportation. 

The Friendly Visitor program is a new addition that is just starting to unfold, whereby trained and screened volunteers will spend time visiting seniors.

“They are just now revamping the training manual, and we’re going to start recruiting volunteers,” Ensley said, noting that those working one-on-one with seniors will require a vulnerable sector check. “It’s a way to provide companionship either by the phone or in person to isolated and lonely seniors,” Ensley explained. 

For more details on volunteering opportunities, contact SASA at

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