Wheels keep turning in lockdown

Senior citizens of the Limestone Coast did not go without Meals on Wheels during the South Australian lockdown as volunteers of the social service organisation rose to the challenge to ensure the vital food service continued.

In further good news, the Department of Health-supported service held onto all its customers while increasing the number of meals it provided over the week, according to regional branch support officer Lisa Fewins. Ms Fewins said an increase in meals for existing customers occurred as they did not want to leave their homes or go shopping during the lockdown.

“It does worry them a little bit … but they know they’re going to get a nice, hot cooked meal from us, which is good for the mental health of our volunteers and our customers,” Ms Fewins told The SE Voice. “A lot of our volunteers have been with us for many years, and they have built beautiful relationships with a lot of our customers.

“It’s good to make sure they are still okay.” SA Health has allowed volunteers who are over 70 years old to continue volunteering during the lockdown, which Ms Fewins described as “a relief” for Meals on Wheels Mount Gambier, after volunteers in the same age bracket were unable to volunteer during the state’s 2020 lockdown.

Ms Fewins said it also came as a relief for the “mental health and wellbeing” of Meals on Wheels Mount Gambier’s volunteers. “It’s good for them to at least still be able to do what they do,” she said. During the lockdown, existing clients increased their frequency of meals, in some instances, from three times a week to up to seven times a week. But with around 220 volunteers, the local branch is well equipped to meet the demand and to operate in a COVID-Safe manner, its regional branch support officer believes.

“We have about 180 clients that we help out on regular basis,” Ms Fewins said. “On some days we might be dishing up 150 meals. “For anybody that is interested in volunteering, they can go onto the Meals on Wheels website and register online.”

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