Meals on Wheels is About More Than Food - 96five Family Radio

Meals on Wheels is About More Than Food

For over 65 years, Meals on Wheels has played a crucial role in supporting the wellbeing of over 200,000 older Australians every year.

By Steff WillisWednesday 31 Aug 202296five BreakfastInspirational StoriesReading Time: 2 minutes

Meals on Wheels recipients aren’t the only beneficiaries of the program.

A new report has found that found that Meals on Wheels volunteers have the highest wellbeing in the county.

96five’s Ken and Nicky caught up with Sharon Broer, President of Meals on Wheels Australia to celebrate Meals on Wheels Day (Wednesday 31st August) and to learn about the positive impact of volunteering.

Sharon revealed that a large percentage of the volunteers come from the community that they are serving.

“The backbone of Meals on Wheels is active retirees” Sharon said.

“People who might have reduced their working hours or they are fully retired.”

“They’re wanting to give something back to the community to continue to have a really purposeful role.” Sharon Broer

The newly released report by Huber Social measured the social impact and the importance of meaningful customer and volunteer connection.

When compared with a sample of comparable Australians, Meals on Wheels volunteers were found to have 10 percent higher wellbeing. When compared to volunteers of a similar age group and volunteer time commitment in a different organisation, Meals on Wheels volunteers still report having 4 percent higher overall wellbeing.

When asked why, Sharon outlined a couple of likely reasons.

“Some of the findings were about a sense of community, a sense of belonging that volunteers have.”

“With their local Meals on Wheels service, it becomes like a second family to them”

“Also that direct connection with the people who are receiving the service because they’re not just receiving food at their homes. They’re receiving love and care and a real connection with the volunteers who become regular visitors to their home”.

Sharon revealed the impact of the pandemic with some of their older volunteers taking a break for their own wellbeing and safety.

This Meals on Wheels Day, Meals on Wheels is calling on Australians to ‘stand up and get connected’ by joining the volunteer ranks at their local service.

“Often deliveries are happening in the morning on weekdays so finding people who are able to donate a couple of hours in the morning during the week is key for us”.

To reach out to your local service about volunteering opportunities near you, visit the website.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.