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Meals on Wheels is most relevant in today’s world

Meals on Wheels was formed to help older and frail people. This mantra has not changed and today it is just as important as it was in the beginning.

“The start to 2020 was not what we wanted at all,” said Manager Alan Russell. “But our staff and volunteers have stepped up to the mark and served our community very well. I am immensely proud of all of them.”

For Eurobodalla Meals on Wheels it started in late 2019 when bush fires started to impact the coast. “Our northern clients were the first affected and then over January it spread to all of our area,” said Mr Russell.

In January Eurobodalla Meals on Wheels was hit by power failures which saw the three freezers placed throughout the Shire stop working. Some meals were able to be distributed to clients, volunteers, the hospital, evacuation centers and to the freezer established for the community at Harvey Normans.

But still $20,000 worth of food was sent to the dump.

After Christmas meals and social programmes were due to start on January 8th. Once meals had been secured from the supplier’s meals were delivered on January 9th from the northern part of the distribution area to the most southern. “This was a magnificent effort by our staff,” said Mr Russell.

Meals have continued to be distributed through the heavy rain and now with the Covid-19 virus. The social support efforts have not been so lucky due to social distancing. The team has not been able to provide their group and individual support programmes since mid-March.

Mr Russell said that these programmes are back in the planning stages and will be ready to go when the National Cabinet lifts some restrictions.

The community has been most supportive of Eurobodalla Meals on Wheels. The volunteers have continued, and 25 people have put up their hands to help. At this stage, these people have not been called upon but Mr Russell says the Cooperative is very appreciative of their willingness to assist.

The clients have been fortunate in two sponsorships which New South Wales Meals on Wheels have gained.

Toilet paper packs have been distributed and Glen 20 is going to clients this week. These have greatly assisted those who are in isolation at home.

Telephone calls and the occasional visit to clients to distribute the toilet paper has helped those who have social support programmes to stay in touch with our staff, said Mr Russell.

“The staff at Eurobodalla Meals on Wheels, both paid and unpaid have been incredible over the last six months,” says Mr Russell. “Some lived in the office during the bush fires and while fires burned around their homes, they kept sending out meals. Amazing efforts through each disaster.”

Eurobodalla meals on Wheels remains ready to assist the older and frail people within the community. But the organization is also looking to the future and starting up it's programmes with the Wallaga Elders and its PALZ programme based at Broulee.

Each month, Meals on Wheels, Uniting, Red Cross and Merrimans Land Council provide a morning of activities for the Elders at the community near Wallaga Lake.

“For over six years these groups have brought social opportunities, and lunch to the Elders and we are looking forward to starting again,” said Mr Russell.

Our PALZ programme happens every two months and it is for those who have the onset on dementia. The aim is to encourage professionals who have been diagnosed to join, with their carer for some intellectual stimulation. But we welcome anyone to be part of our group which meets on the first Tuesday every second month.

Eurobodalla Meals on Wheels is relevant in today's world and we welcome interest in its work from the community, and we thank the community for its interest and support.

“Especially we thank the three Rotary Clubs of the Shire and Moruya Jockey Club for the Christmas Race Day last year. We also thank Travel Team Batemans Bay and Alan May Holden for their generous support as from this event we were given $24,000 towards a people mover which we share with Yumaro. This is designed to take clients here and there and is most welcomed,” said Mr Russell.

While catering for older people, we are also available for those of any age who wish to serve and to those who need a helping hand. “Call us,” said Mr Russell, “and see how you can help us and how we maybe able to help you.” You can learn much more with a visit to the website.

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