MEALS ON WHEELS NEEDS YOUR HELP

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By YVETTE AUBUSSON-FO­LEY

THINK­ING back on what has meant the most to you in the past 12 months, what do you see?

More time spent with fam­ily or giv­ing back to com­mu­nity?

It’s a ques­tion Meals on Wheels Dubbo man­ager Pe­ter English would ask Dubbo res­i­dents to se­ri­ously con­sider as Na­tional Meals on Wheels Day ap­proaches on Wed­nes­day, Au­gust 28.

“This year’s not a huge mile­stone year for us, we’ve only op­er­ated for 56 years, but it is a year of re­flec­tion. We all lead very busy lives; we’ve got to stop and think about what’s im­por­tant,” Mr English told Dubbo Photo News.

For Dubbo res­i­dents who re­ceive a hot meal each day, espe­cially dur­ing win­ter, the value of Meals on Wheels is not just measured in meals but as a re­li­able way to stay con­nected to com­mu­nity.

Boyce Char­tered Accountant­s Dubbo staff mem­bers Samantha Braven­boer and Pe­ter Gra­ham are reg­u­lar vol­un­teers with the ser­vice.

“I only started do­ing it last year. I re­ally en­joy it and be­ing able to help older res­i­dents out,” Ms Braven­boer said.

“It’s a good op­por­tu­nity to do some­thing. There’s not much to do to sign up and it takes less than an hour usu­ally to de­liver the meals. In a worst-case sce­nario, with­out vol­un­teers some of the re­cip­i­ents would just go hun­gry,” Mr Gra­ham said.

For­mer lo­cal bar­ber Bob Mac­dou­gal is a reg­u­lar re­cip­i­ent of the ser­vice.

“I’ve been us­ing the ser­vice for 20 or 25 years,” the 87-year-old said. “I get it five days a week, Mon­days to Fri­days. I find it quite sat­is­fac­tory.”

Mr English hopes that, on re­flec­tion, more vol­un­teers who are hop­ing to give back to the Dubbo com­mu­nity in some way will come for­ward.

“Our vol­un­teers are our eyes and ears. Some of them have been vol­un­teer­ing for 30, 40, even 50plus years. They know the peo­ple they’re de­liv­er­ing the meals to. They are fam­ily friends of their par­ents, an old school teacher, or some­body in the shops that they knew as a young child, so it’s very much giv­ing back to com­mu­nity.

“They like that en­gage­ment of giv­ing back to peo­ple who also gave back to com­mu­nity when they were younger,” he ex­plained.

“We’re one of the last Meals on Wheels that do a hot meal. It is very easy to de­liver frozen meals once a week or once a fort­night to peo­ple, but it doesn’t fit with our ethos to just de­liver a meal or a bunch of meals and for­get about the client for one week or two weeks.

“All it takes is a phone call. You can vol­un­teer as lit­tle or as much as you want,” Mr English said. “We have a few busi­nesses that vol­un­teer once a month.”

To en­quire about how to sup­port Meals on Wheels Dubbo call 6882 4083.

Boyce Char­tered Accountant­s staff mem­bers Samantha Braven­boer and Pe­ter Gra­ham with Meals on Wheels client Bob Mac­dou­gal, 87, who is about to en­joy a hot meal while read­ing the lo­cal pa­per. PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS

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