In March 1957, Meals on Wheels prepared its first meals in Sydney Town Hall and delivered them to 150 people across the inner city. Now, 65 years on, Meals on Wheels has over 150 members across New South Wales with 14,000 volunteers delivering 4.5 million meals each year. Closer to home, North Shoalhaven Meals on Wheels operates from Berry, Shoalhaven Heads, Nowra Bomaderry, Culburra Beach and Jervis Bay, delivering over 750 meals each week to 200 local residents.
Angela Pendlebury, Manager North Shoalhaven Meals on Wheels said the organisation’s success over the past 65 years is due to the dedication and loyalty of ‘an army’ of volunteers, who deliver more than just a meal.
“Our volunteers are the backbone of our organisation, ensuring that we are able prepare nutritious meals and deliver them to all who need our service,” Ms Pendlebury said. “But we are more than just a delivery service. Our volunteers form valuable connections with each of our clients, conducting important welfare checks or simply offering a chat when it is most needed.
“North Shoalhaven Meals on Wheels are always seeking additional members to join our team of over 250 volunteers. If you are seeking to make a positive difference in the community, contact us on 4422 5111 to ensure we are able to continue to support our region for the next 65 years,” Ms Pendlebury said.
Service Manager for Nowra Bomaderry Meals on Wheels Luke Sikora said the service has been operating across the Shoalhaven for more than 40 years and has evolved from preparing and delivering meals to additional work across local communities, such as stemming the increasing tide of social isolation.
“We have found through recent lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic a concerning increase of social isolation across our community, with our Meals on Wheels volunteers sometimes being the only contact our clients have with someone in a week,” Mr Sikora said.
“We are working to combat the growing impact of social isolation. Over the past five years, our successful ‘Wheels to Meals’ program, where we subsidise meals and transport to bring people together each month, provides an important social interaction for local residents, creating valuable connections over a meal. With the support of more volunteers, we will be able to expand this important service.
We are working to combat the growing impact of social isolation. Over the past five years, our successful ‘Wheels to Meals’ program, where we subsidise meals and transport to bring people together each month, provides an important social interaction for local residents, creating valuable connections over a meal. – Luke Sikora
“Meals on Wheels has come a long way from the Sydney Town Hall in 1957, and from the United Kingdom, where it was founded during the Blitz, delivering meals to those who lost their homes. Meals on Wheels has an extraordinary history, but we’re excited about its future and how we can continue to work across the Northern Shoalhaven,” Mr Sikora said.
Necessary background checks are completed prior to volunteers commencing with appropriate training provided.
North Shoalhaven Meals on Wheels is supported by 250 volunteers providing meals seven days a week to over 200 clients across the Shoalhaven. Those interested in supporting Meals on Wheels are invited to call 4422 5111.