Nutrition is an important determinant of health in seniors.

Sydney and Area Meals on Wheels: History

The Meals on Wheels program in Sydney started in 1972 with a small group of church volunteers. In 1983 the Volunteer Resource Center of New Dawn Enterprises took over administration of the charitable program. New Dawn Enterprises continues to operate it today.

New Dawn Meals on Wheels: Today

New Dawn Meals on Wheels is a charitable, volunteer-driven program. The program is committed to fostering independence and quality of life by providing affordable nutrition services. Each year, New Dawn Meals on Wheels provides approximately 9,000 hot and nutritious meals to people in our community who are unable to prepare meals for themselves. All meals are delivered to the doorsteps by a team of friendly and dedicated volunteers.



The Need for New Dawn Meals on Wheels

In Cape Breton, as more and more families leave the island for work, community members, volunteers and organizations like Meals on Wheels find themselves stepping in to provide the support services that enable our seniors to live happy, healthy and independent lives in their own homes.

Funding and Financial Support

Funding for New Dawn Meals on Wheels is provided by New Dawn Enterprises, in partnership with United Way of Cape Breton and the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services. In addition to this funding, the program is financed through payments from recipients and donations from individuals and groups.

New Dawn Meals on Wheels is appreciative of donations of any size. These donations help us to ensure that all seniors and vulnerable individuals in our community who are in need of hot and nutritious meals are able to access our program. All donations are tax deductible and a charitable receipt will be issued.

Donations can be made in memory of a loved one or in honor of a special event for which we are happy to send a personalized card to recognize the contribution.

New Dawn Meals on Wheels is a registered charity under the Canada Revenue Agency (C/N: # 894255181RR0001).


Nutrition is an important determinant of health in elderly patients. Over the past decade, the importance of nutritional status has been increasingly recognized in a variety of conditions including cancer, heart disease, and dementia in persons over the age of 65.

Many elderly patients have an increased risk for malnutrition compared with other adult populations. It is estimated that between 2%–16% of community-dwelling elderly are nutritionally deficient in protein and calories (Whitehead and Finucane 1997). If mineral and vitamin deficiencies are included in this estimate, malnutrition in persons over the age of 65 may be as high as 35% (Chandra 2002).

Studies of hospitalized older patients suggest that between 20%–65% of these patients suffer from nutritional deficiencies (Elmstahl et al 1997; Sullivan and Lipschultz 1997; Hall et al 2000), and the prevalence of malnutrition in long-term care facilities is estimated to be between 30%–60%

Increasingly in the diet/disease debate, the role that micronutrients play in promoting health and preventing noncommunicable disease is receiving considerable attention. Micronutrient deficiencies are often common in elderly people due to a number of factors such as their reduced food intake and a lack of variety in the foods they eat.

Benefits of Meals on Wheels

Research shows that healthy eating provides essential energy and nutrients for general well being, maintenance of health and functional autonomy, and reduces the risk for chronic diseases at older ages.

In addition to the the benefits of regular, hot and nutritious meals, New Dawn Meals on Wheels also provides:

  • Regular social contact and interaction with our volunteers.
  • An opportunity to maintain and regain independence in your own home.
  • Relief to primary caregivers who, rather than preparing meals, can attend to other tasks or take time for themselves.
  • Comfort for non-live-in family and friends, knowing that their loved ones are provided with regular, hot and nutritious meals and a caring connection.
  • A sense of well-being in knowing that our community is working together to ensure that our seniors are well cared for.