In Two Wells there is a small group of volunteers who provide an essential and important service to the community.
They are the ladies of the Two Wells Meals on Wheels group (at time of print, there were no male members).
Established in 1986 they’ve been helping people in the district for the past 26 years and over the last two decades have delivered more than 26,000 meals to people in the area!
It’s a service perhaps, like me, you didn’t know existed, and one many could possibly access.
For just $7 a day MOW customers receive a three-course meal consisting of soup, main course and dessert.
And the menu is quiet impressive including minestrone, pumpkin or cream of chicken soup, a selection of roasts, fish, patties, casseroles, Spanish chicken, curries, and much more.
Dessert could be apple crumble, sticky date pudding, panacotta, fruit salad or custard and the food incorporates seasonal holidays such as Christmas and Easter.
“On any day we’re delivering about 4000 meals across the state,” MOW chief executive officer, Sharyn Broer, explained.
“And more than 5000 people in any given week might be helped by Meals On Wheels.”
The not-for-profit organisation has been preparing and delivering meals since 1954 and strives to help people live independently in their own homes.
Sharyn said the service was “more than just a meal”, which is the organisations’ slogan, with volunteers often an important point of contact for people living by themselves.
While the majority of people who access MOW are retired and generally in their 80s, Sharyn said anyone who can’t shop for themselves, is sick or ill, or is perhaps a carer, can utilise the service.
Clients are usually directed to MOW by a health professional, a family member or a neighbour, but people can refer themselves and their acceptance is based on needs not on any financial means test.
“The guideline is if you’re not able to cook or shop for yourself,” Sharyn explained.
“It’s not about ‘I don’t feel like cooking’”.
Meals are prepared at the MOW kitchen in Kent Town and then delivered by a team of drivers to clients.
In Two Wells the meals are delivered frozen on a fortnightly basis and are kept in a freezer in the Uniting Church hall until volunteers take it in turn to deliver them to about five people in the area.
A range of dietary requirements can be catered for, with the service offering meals that are diabetic friendly, gluten free and dairy free.
Meals can also be modified to suit people who have trouble chewing and swallowing or adapted for people with food texture needs.
Vegetarian and low potassium requirements can also be met by the service.
“There are a lot of different things we can cater to,” Sharyn said.
“Generally we aim for 1/3 of a person’s daily nutritional needs in each meal. “What we want to say to people is they’re paying for their meal and we can meet the needs of as many people who need it.
“We’ve got many volunteers.”
Volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and age groups and include shift workers, retirees and stay-at-home mums.
In Two Wells the small but steady group of volunteers, who include well-known locals Pamela Duncan, Helen Gameau, Judi Frost, Anne Stodart, Lorraine Goss and Maria Pellizzari, are an important connection to MOW customers.
They are a friendly face at the door and an ear when people are in need of a chat.
Ninety-four-year-old Two Wells local, Ivy Southgate, has been utilising the MOW service five days a week for more than 15 years and says it is a “life saver”.
“The food is first class and I think it’s good of the girls to bring it right to my door,” Ivy said.
“I would not be living if it wasn’t for Meals On Wheels.”
Volunteer and inaugural Two Wells MOW member, Helen Gameau, relished the opportunity to give something back to the community.
“I get a lot of enjoyment out of doing something for the community,” Helen said.
“And I can see that some people need it.”
Most clients are aged in their 80s and 90s, which has seen a few funny moments for the volunteers, with Anne and Judi saying they’ve heard some great stories and had many wonderful experiences when delivering meals.
It sounds like a terrific way to get out and meet people while at the same time helping residents stay in their homes longer. Good on you girls!
Need Meals on Wheels?
Contact 1800 854 453 for enquires about the Meals On Wheels service or visit the MOW website at www.mealsonwheelssa.org.au.