REVEALED: How Dalby’s Meals on Wheels survived during the pandemic. Picture: Naomi Jellicoe
REVEALED: How Dalby’s Meals on Wheels survived during the pandemic. Picture: Naomi Jellicoe

How Dalby Meals on Wheels flourished during the pandemic

IT HAS been eight months of uncertainty and anxiety for many community organisations with jobs lost and forced lockdowns, but one Dalby group has put in the work to ensure all their customers remain a priority, and have even flourished this year.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Dalby Meals on Wheels has grown from providing on average 800 meals per month to over 2000 and welcomed over 20 new volunteers.

On August 26, National Meals on Wheels Day will recognise its dedicated volunteer workforce who stepped up to help protect the health and wellbeing of vulnerable Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the first COVID diagnoses came to light, many Meals on Wheels volunteers aged 70 and over were recommended to self-isolate for their own safety, while younger volunteers stood up to support their communities.

Meals on Wheels Australia President Sharyn Broer says the iconic organisation is incredibly grateful for the unwavering commitment and generosity of the 76,000 people who volunteer for Meals on Wheels, ensuring older Australians remain nourished and safe at home, not only during a pandemic, but every day.

“We are so thankful for our volunteers,” she said.

“Regardless of the emergency – devastating bushfires, or in a pandemic, our volunteers continue to roll up their sleeves and deliver life-changing support.”

Recently the Aged Care and Senior Australians minister Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck MP acknowledged the inequitable distribution of funding and advised Meals on Wheels Australia of an upcoming funding review for meal service providers, within the next 12 months.

“We are pleased the Government has recognised the problem, however, our concerns remain about the timing of the review and the impact this will have on services that are already struggling to remain financially viable,” Mrs Broer said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government provided vital additional funding which allowed Meals on Wheels services to continue delivering nutritious meals to an increased number of vulnerable members of the community.

“We are so thankful to the Government for supporting us during this uncertain time through the increase in funding,” Dalby Meals on Wheels Service Manager Jess Chapman said.

“They recognised and reinforced the essential role our service plays in ensuring food security for people in our community.”

“Dalby Meals on Wheels has been wonderful not only throughout the pandemic but in general, I haven’t received a single meal I didn’t love,” Dalby Meals on Wheels recipient Daisy Anderson said.

“Receiving meals for $5.00 is amazing for our local pensioners, especially considering meals are cooked to my personal preferences and dietary requirements.

“I couldn’t recommend Dalby Meals on Wheels highly enough; I honestly can say I love the staff and the friendly volunteer faces”

This National Meals on Wheels Day, Dalby Meals on Wheels are officially launching their retail meal delivery service.

They invite you to take this opportunity to have a Hot, Chilled or Frozen meal delivered to you at work or home.

Not only will you help them to celebrate the amazing effort each and every Member Service, volunteer and staff member have made during these unprecedented times, but all proceeds raised on the day through retail meal sales will go towards the continued support of Dalby Meals on Wheels’ valuable community service.

Mrs Broer says Dalby Meals on Wheels and their volunteers have demonstrated immense resilience through the pandemic, however, the ongoing sustainability of the service is so important.

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