STATISTICS surrounding Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Meals on Wheels service tell a worthwhile tale: it has been operating for 40 years and delivers 1500 meals per week – up from the original 25 meals per week.
That’s a staggering 75,000 meals per year.
Its 170 volunteers drive 125,000 kilometres all over the peninsula each year to feed more than 450 grateful residents five days a week. The volunteers’ ages range from 21-89, with the longest serving volunteer delivering for 39 years.
At a recent annual food safety audit the Meals on Wheels team again achieved excellent results, with 100 per cent compliance and zero non-conformances.
Their achievement will be honoured at National Meals on Wheels Day – Wednesday 29 August – when the role of 78,700 Meals on Wheels volunteers nationally at over 740 Meals on Wheels branches around the country will be recognised.
Morning teas will be held at the Rosebud, Hastings and Mornington pick-up points, with the mayor, councillors, CEO and senior executive officers then accompanying the volunteers on delivery runs across the shire.
The Rosebud-based service – which receives invaluable support from the Rye opportunity shop and the Southern Peninsula Community fund – offers fresh, chilled and frozen meals which are collected from three pick-up areas each morning. Up to seven meals can be delivered flexibly throughout the week.
The nutritionally balanced meals go to residents who are unable to provide for their own dietary needs. The daily meal consists of a soup, main meal and dessert. A vitamin C supplement is also provided in the form of a fruit juice or piece of fruit. There’s even allowance for special dietary, medical and cultural requirements for eligible residents.
The 170 volunteers come from all walks of life but all have a desire to “give something back to the community”. Often they are the only contact a client will have during the day. They thrive in the daily monitoring and social interaction.
The health benefits to volunteers are worth noting. They can expect to live longer, happier lives, suffer less depression, sleep better and feel more satisfied with themselves.
Details: For further information on volunteering with Meals on Wheels call the shire’s volunteer support officer 5950 1600.