by S Lowe 5THE FM’S newsonline wattlerangenow
National Meals On Wheels Day is celebrated on August the 26th, it’s a day to say thank you to the 75,000 volunteers who keep the service running around the country. Meals on Wheels is a hugely important community service, and one which relies on thousands of volunteers across Australia to keep it running.
Meals on Wheels began in Britain during the Second World War and was established in Australia in 1952. It’s a household name to this generation of Australians and is set to become an even more important service in the future as the population ages and people live longer and wish to maintain their independence.
Meals on Wheels is not means tested and is a service geared to the needs of frail older people, younger people with disabilities and their carers. To find out if you or a relative is eligible to find your State and then your local Service and someone can come to meet you and discuss your needs. Potential clients of Meals on Wheels can refer themselves, be referred by a family member, friend, doctor or hospital.
Although delivery of prepared meals is the basis of the service, Meals on Wheels is so much more. It is more than just a meal. It is also about ensuring people who may not be able to get out and about, enjoy regular social interaction and the comfort of knowing someone will drop by regularly to say hello and see how they are going. Meals on Wheels also provides the opportunity for people to be taken to local centres to share a meal with others or go on outings, with the assistance of volunteers.
Meals on Wheels volunteer, Pam Crowe, from Millicent has volunteered with the local branch for 6 years.
I asked her why she chose to volunteer with Meals on Wheels.
“I like to help, I enjoy doing it and it’s not often. I like seeing the people smile when we walk in the door. I think our brief visit is as important as the meals we bring.”
“We don’t have long to chat but just a few friendly words can make a difference to someone living alone or who hasn’t seen anyone else that day. I think our visit breaks up the day for them.”
“I think the fact that someone has prepared a meal for them is as important to them as the meal itself. They know someone cared enough to so this for them.”
Meals on Wheels has been a family affair for Pam who remembers delivering Meals on Wheels during her school holidays, to people in Rendelsham with her mother Mrs Beryl Foster who volunteered with Meals on Wheels.
“In those days we had big urns of soup in the car and ladelled it out at each place we called on. Today it’s all portion controlled and in lidded containers.”
“I like working with Meals on Wheels. I deliver to about 14 people in Millicent each time I do it, but there are other drivers delivering at the same time on other routes.”
Pam also volunteers at 5THE FM preparing articles for 5THE FM’s newsonline wattlerangenow.com.au
If you would like to volunteer with Meals on Wheels you can contact the Millicent Office Mount Gambier Road, Millicent, SA, 5280, Australia or phone 8733 0198.