Lambton Elderly Outreach (LEO) is a not-for-profit agency that provides support services in Sarnia and Lambton County for seniors over the age of 60 and adults with disabilities. Bill Yurchuk has been LEO’s Chief Executive Officer since 2014. “The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that our staff and volunteers are providing services that enable people to live with dignity and independence. Our mandate is to help our clients remain in their homes as long as possible.”

Lambton Elderly Outreach began in 1970 with a group of community members operating a Meals on Wheels service. Over the years, LEO steadily increased its services and in 2008, LEO integrated staff and services with Senior VIP. “Today LEO employs over 85 staff, including administrative staff, van drivers, personal support workers, fitness instructors and home maintenance workers.” LEO also has over 150 volunteers who are involved in all areas of service. “Transportation and Meals on Wheels could not happen without their dedication. And we are always looking for more assistance in this area. It is the people who make this organization. I can’t say enough about our staff and volunteers. The feedback from our clients is amazing.”

The list of services LEO provides is extensive. Last year their vehicles logged over one million kilometres. LEO provides transportation to seniors and adults with disabilities for medical appointments, social engagements and grocery shopping within a 160-kilometer radius of their Wyoming office. Adults who are temporarily disabled due to injury or surgery can also access these services. Meals on Wheels delivers hot or frozen meals to clients that include entrees, soups and desserts. Home maintenance workers provide lawn maintenance, snow removal and small repairs. LEO’s personal support care workers assist clients with personal care, meal preparation and light housekeeping. “Other services include caregiver respite, friendly visiting, fitness classes and access to an on-site social worker for crisis consultation or client intervention,” Yurchuk adds. “Services are added to meet the needs of our local community.” 

The majority of LEO’s funding comes from the Local Health Integration Network. The United Way also provides funding for transportation subsidies. “The rest of our funds come through donations, fundraising and client fees. Our services are subsidized but we do have to charge a fee because we aren’t fully funded. We are in the process of organizing a fundraising committee with staff, volunteers and community members. We would love to create a signature event that LEO can put their name on and everyone would associate with us.”

LEO continues to look for new and innovative ways to support their clients. This year they are introducing a stretcher van to their fleet of 18 vehicles. Many of their clients who need transportation are not comfortable sitting up. This new van allows clients to be transported while lying down comfortably. Yurchuk is also focused on raising awareness about LEO in Sarnia and Lambton County. “I want seniors and adults with disabilities to know the services LEO provides and that their community cares about them.”