The big-hearted team of 70 volunteers with Meals on Wheels Wingecarribee mean so much more than just dinner-to-your-door to the hundreds of locals they nourish each week across our Shire. New equipment, made possible by Council’s Community Assistance Scheme, will save them prep time so that they can invest quality time in even more people.
Increased isolation in recent times has led to a surge in vulnerable locals seeking the support of Meals on Wheels Wingecarribee, while volunteer numbers have diminished.
To help take pressure off their valued volunteer workforce, Team Leader Debbie Smith successfully applied for grant funding to enable the purchase of a Robot-Coupe commercial-grade food processor.
“We have to work smarter to meet the growing demand,” Debbie said. “Without our wonderful volunteers, we couldn’t do what we do to care for people in our community. Making it that little bit easier for them to prep the massive amount of meals we provide each week, will mean a lot to everyone on our team.”
Enhanced efficiency behind the scenes frees up more time for volunteers to invest in the people who rely on this vital community service. “For many of the people we deliver to, Meals On Wheels is about more than maintaining their nutrition. It can be very comforting to see a smile and have a laugh with our caring volunteers and staying connected is so important to mental and emotional wellbeing,” Debbie says. “We feel a responsibility to our community to treat each delivery as a welfare check, which can be comforting for families. So if someone doesn’t answer their door, we can flag that with their carer.”
The great news for our Shire is that these equipment upgrades will help Meals on Wheels Wingearribee increase its catering reach. “We depend on funding like this to continue to meet growing demand, and so that it’s not necessary to pass on the full cost of producing such a high volume of high-quality food, to people in need,” Debbie explains.
The grant was enough for us to fund an additional fridge to cater to people with food allergies. “This has improved our handling processes, as we tailor individual meal plans to meet each person’s preferences as well as allergies or dietary requirements,” Debbie says.
Volunteers cover the whole of Wingecarribee with deliveries three days per week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“Rarely do people leave our service once we start delivering to them, so care for our volunteers is every bit as important as the care we extend to our clients,” Debbie says. “This grant will go a long way to letting them know Council and the wider community care about their wellbeing, and that every one of them matters to their community. We’re extremely grateful for it.”
Let’s let our volunteers know they’re valued this Volunteer Week! Share your comment to our socials post and see some of the tributes to wonderful volunteers here in our Shire.
Successful applicants from the latest round of Community Assistance Scheme will be announced from 1 July 2023. For more information on visit our website.
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