Meals on Wheels to launch catering business

A long-standing charity in Sudbury says it needs to reinvent itself in order to survive.

Starting a catering business will help charity become self-sustaining, manager says

A long-standing charity in Sudbury says it needs to reinvent itself to survive.

Meals on Wheels plans to roll into the catering business.

Colleen Fraser, manager of financial services with the organization, said smaller fundraising events just don’t provide a good return for the charity.

Meals on Wheels officials say fewer donations mean the charitable organization has to look at other ways to raise money to run its meal delivery service. (

"They realized that they needed to do something else," Fraser said. "Bowling … golf tournaments and all sorts of little things … took so much staff time [and] so much energy from the entire agency including volunteers."

Fraser said the catering business will help Meals on Wheels, which has been servicing Greater Sudbury for more than 40 years, become more self sufficient.

The change seems to come at the right time, as Statistics Canada reports fewer Sudburians are donating money to charity.

StatsCan reported in 2009-2010, one in every four people in Sudbury gave about $220 to charity — that's down about 1.4 per cent from the number of people who donated to charity the year before.

The Stats Canada numbers also show Sudbury is at the bottom of the list when it comes to charitable giving in Canada.

Fraser said, like other charities, Meals on Wheels must become more self sufficient to survive.

The not-for-profit organization was named the beneficiary of this year's Sudbury Dragon Boat festival. Money raised from the event will help Meals On Wheels pay for its new kitchen, as the charity transforms itself into a catering business.

"And with more caterings we will be able to generate enough money to help sustain Meals on Wheels — that's our goal," Fraser said.

Each year, Meals on Wheels needs to raise about $90,000 to cover costs.