The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Service calls for more volunteers

- BY SARAH MATTHEWS

“Put simply – Meals on Wheels needs more wheels” – Robbie Millar

Organisers of Horsham and Natimuk’s Meals on Wheels program are calling for more volunteers to help provide the vital community service.

For more than 65 years, Meals on Wheels has played a crucial role in supporting the health and wellbeing of 200,000-plus Australian­s annually, across 592 service locations.

In Horsham and Natimuk, volunteers support 90 vulnerable community members and have delivered about 7600 meals since the start of the year.

Centre for Participat­ion acting chief executive Robbie Millar said the program was facing many challenges, particular­ly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

He used National Meals on Wheels Day last month to thank the ‘wonderful volunteers who have continued to turn up to our service and make sure no-one in our local community went hungry’.

He also used the occasion to call for more volunteers.

“Having noticed a decline in volunteers over the past 18 months, we are also making an urgent call to address the need for more delivery drivers, a volunteer opportunit­y we desperatel­y need filling,” he said.

“Put simply – Meals on Wheels needs more wheels.

“It’s easy, it’s not stressful and you can do it as often as you like.

“People can volunteer as a once-off or once a month, once every three months or every six – it depends what works for you.”

Mr Millar said Meals on Wheels was a daily service, with Natimuk volunteers rotating on a weekly basis.

In Horsham, Centre for Participat­ion organises three volunteers a day for its own community meals program and seven for Meals on Wheels.

“The Red Cross has a particular run, they do it every day, they just tell us which volunteer is coming,” Mr Millar said.

“It’s a great community project for businesses and organisati­ons to be part of.

“I used to do Meals on Wheels as a kid – a lot of people did. But doing it as an adult, it’s one of the most incredible things I do.

“I don’t do it regularly, I fill in as needed, but it amazes me the amount of people in the community who are lonely and love having a volunteer drop by to deliver a meal and have a quick chat.

“The feeling you get is indescriba­ble, you have to do it first-hand to really understand what it means to people.”

Mr Millar said the organisati­on complied with COVID-SAFE guidelines and security measures, including police checks.

He said people could call Centre for Participat­ion on 5382 5607 for more informatio­n about volunteeri­ng for Meals on Wheels or other programs.

 ?? Picture: PAUL CARRACHER ?? VITAL SERVICE: Centre for Participat­ion Meals on Wheels co-ordinator Maree Varley, right, helps volunteers Lynne Dale and her son Mallcolm James prepare to deliver meals during National Meals on Wheels Day.
Picture: PAUL CARRACHER VITAL SERVICE: Centre for Participat­ion Meals on Wheels co-ordinator Maree Varley, right, helps volunteers Lynne Dale and her son Mallcolm James prepare to deliver meals during National Meals on Wheels Day.

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