Waitaki Herald : July 16th 2014
NEWS WAITAKI HERALD, JULY 16, 2014 5 Meal service seeks vital ingredient A By NICOLA WOLFE vital service supporting Oamaru’s elderly is running short on volunteers. Meals On Wheels is in need of drivers and runners to deliver ready-made meals to a large number of people in the district who are unable to cook for themselves. ‘‘Without the service there’d be maybe 100 older people who don’t get fed,’’ Age Concern Waitaki co-ordinator Wayne Stringer says. He says the service is one of many that is struggling to secure volunteers. ‘‘Nationally, the volunteer force is getting older because younger people are out working. Most of our volunteers are in their 70s and 80s,’’ he says. ‘‘[However] more and more people are needing the service. Oamaru has one of the oldest populations in New Zealand – around 27 per cent of Oamaru’s population is over 65 and it’s increasing exponentially." Stringer says it is estimated that by 2030 one-third of the town’s population will be over 65. Meals On Wheels provide 40-50 specialised meals for older people every day, including meals for those with specific dietary requirements. The meals are catered by Ren- dell on Reed rest home and collected and delivered by Meals On Wheels volunteers 365 days a year. Stringer says the service provides much more than just meals however. ‘‘They look after the clients as well, make sure they are warm Feeding the masses: Meals on Wheels volunteers Evelyn Walshe, left, Ruth Drummond, Cherith Creighton, Keith Creighton and Rendell on Reed kitchen hand Dani McEwan prepare for another lunch delivery. during the winter months and can organise referrals for clients who are unwell and need extra support. ‘‘The volunteers also visit people who are socially isolated and don’t have anyone around.’’ Volunteer Margaret Thompson, 82, was been a volunteer driver with Meals on Wheels for a couple of years and finds the job very rewarding. ‘‘You don’t expect any reward for it [but] there’s a great deal of satisfaction for a job well done,’’ she says. Mrs Thompson volunteers once a week with the service and fills in for others when she is needed. She contributes as a driver. Stringer says they require people who have some spare time to volunteer as either runners or drivers. He said they sometimes work to a roster but mostly its when they can and are available.
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