All you need to know
Here's everything you need to know about Meals on Wheels from who is eligible to what's involved in volunteering - even a bit about how it all began.
1When did Meals on Wheels start?
Meals on Wheels began in Britain during the Second World War and was established in Australia in 1952. It's a household name to this generation of Australians and is set to become an even more important service in the future as the population ages and people live longer and wish to maintain their independence.
2Where does Meals on Wheels operate?
If you live in the City, Suburbs, Regional town or Coastal village, chances are there will be a service operating in your district.
3Who is eligible for Meals on Wheels?
Meals on Wheels is not means tested and is a service geared to the needs of frail older people, younger people with disabilities and their carers. To find out if you or a relative is eligible contact us to arrange for someone to come to meet you and discuss your needs. Potential clients of Meals on Wheels can refer themselves, be referred by a family member, friend, doctor or hospital or through My Aged Care.
4What is the food like?
The food provided by Meals on Wheels is nutritionally balanced, tasty and caters to specific dietary needs, cultural preferences and personal tastes. As everybody leads different lives, there is flexibility in delivery options. Some prefer a hot meal delivered in the middle of the day, others like frozen or chilled food that can be heated at a time to suit. Menus are designed to be healthy and varied and our team of chefs and catering companies go out of their way to keep our clients happy.
5How much do meals cost?
Every effort is made to keep meals as affordable as possible, particularly as many of our clients are pensioners. The generosity of our volunteers, who give their time to help cook in the kitchens, drive the cars, and deliver the meals, means we are able to provide a vital service at an economical price. The meals are provided at these products costs:
- Main Meal is $8.00
- Soup is $2.20
- Sweets are $2.80
- Sandwiches are $4.50
6What does 'More than just a meal' mean?
Although delivery of prepared meals is the basis of the service, Meals on Wheels is so much more. It is more than just a meal. It is also about ensuring people who may not be able to get out and about, enjoy regular social interaction and the comfort of knowing someone will drop by regularly to say hello and see how they are going.
1Tell me more about volunteering
As volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation and we depend so heavily on their support, here is a section devoted specifically to questions would-be volunteers may have.
2How do I become a volunteer?
Contact your local Meals on Wheels service by searching on this website under 'Find Us' or Freecall 1800 MYMEAL (1800 696 325). Or Click the "Contact Us" button.
3Is there a selection process for volunteers?
Your local Meals on Wheels organisation will usually interview you when you offer your help to explain what they expect from you and what you can expect from them. A National Police check is required before commencement. This is designed to protect the clients whose homes you will be visiting.
4What does it involve?
The tasks vary depending on the recruiting organisation and any particular skills you may offer. The typical work of Meals on Wheels field volunteers is the delivery of meals to clients using a volunteer's own car, or acting as a partner to someone else. Most deliveries are done in pairs. Other ways volunteers can help include being on the local management committee, lending a hand with general office duties or assisting with new services such as social programs.
5How much time will it take?
Depending on the type of volunteering you are doing, anything from an hour a month to one or more full days a week. The choice is yours. Most Branches are happy to take whatever time you can give and this should be discussed at the initial interview.
6What training will I receive?
New volunteers receive an induction at their local Meals on Wheels service and experienced volunteers who have been involved for a while are often happy to share some of their experience and advice.
7What can I expect from volunteering?
You will experience the satisfaction of knowing you are providing a vital service to the community. You will make new friends, learn new skills, and probably grow in self-esteem and confidence. There may be some challenging moments, but remember your involvement is brightening others' lives and making a real difference. Many organisations and communities hold social and civic events to recognise the valuable contribution of volunteers.