Meals on Wheels services in Australia were invariably established by those citizens who recognised a need in their own communities and acted on that need. It is hard to believe in 2019 that Meals on Wheels was once considered a radical concept, for it has become a mainstream program and a cornerstone of many communities. A regular delivery of nutritious meals has been a major contributor to tens of thousands of older people and people with disability remaining in their own homes.
North Shoalhaven Meals on Wheels (NSMOW) is here and still supporting our local community. We have more customers and we are delivering more meals than ever. Yes, there are more competitors but the best thing about Meals on Wheels is all of our meals meet the National Meal Guidelines 2016, and we have over 400 friendly volunteers that visit our customers on meal delivery days. Most of our Meals on Wheels customers are receiving support from the Commonwealth Home Support Programme. Only customers who are receiving a Home Care package incur an administration fee, which is paid for by the package provider. This cost is not passed on to the consumer.
Many of our local Meals On Wheels also offer other activities such as group outings. We are also introducing a new program, sharing a meal with our more isolated or people who confined to their home.
NSMOW is working towards developing a Meal Distribution Centre so we can improve our services to our community. This only improves, not diminishes, our local options. Our community-based kitchens at Huskisson and Shoalhaven Heads will still continue to cook and serve delicious meals as they have for the last forty years.
By having a Meal Distribution Centre, and purchasing from a wide range of meals suppliers, we can ensure that there will be a wider variety of meals available. This will give our customers more choice just like our city counterparts. The only meals suppliers that we will partner with will be those that have been approved as meeting the National Meal Guidelines.
We expect that the introduction of the Centre will have similar benefits for our customers as the introduction of Meals Distribution Centres did in six other regions across NSW. These Meal Distribution Centres have enabled the local Meals on Wheels services to have increased control over food products offered to the consumers in terms of nutrition, variety and specialized meals such as vegetarian, low-salt and gluten free, and the customers to have more choice and affordability of meals. This choice and affordability can only improve the lives of people who receive meals.
Because we rely on volunteers for our direct service delivery, we always need more volunteers not only for delivery, cooking and runners but in a variety of other roles such as administration, bookkeeper, promotions officer including assisting in social and print media.
One thing our services and volunteers know is how to support its own community. If you would like any more information about Meals on Wheels, please call Lisa Burns on 44225111.