More Than Just a Meal

Some of the team at Mitchelton Meals on Wheels: Ailsa, Lorraine, Roy, Wendy, Jordan, Magda and Will (the Chef)

The Hills Echo team were invited to visit the Mitchelton Meals On Wheels (MMOW) headquarters earlier this month to gain an insight into how this longstanding not-for-profit organisation ticks. 

Did you know that Meals on Wheels Mitchelton provides healthy nutritious meals to approximately 200 consumers living in our local area? This community institution is a lifeline for many who receive its services. Meals on Wheels enables the aged, frail and those that can no longer cook for themselves to remain in their homes where they are safe and comfortable. This allows consumers to retain their independence for as long as possible whilst giving social contact with people in the community. 

Though food is welcome, sometimes the human contact matters even more. As our headline suggests, Meals On Wheels is ‘More Than Just A Meal,’ they don’t just drop and go. Volunteers that deliver meals also stop for a chat and check up on the welfare of consumers. If there is a problem they will then alert family members.

Established in 1972, the distribution areas for the MMOW are vast. Suburbs include; Ferny Hills, Keperra, Upper Kedron, Arana Hills, Everton Park, Gaythorne, Alderley, Enoggera, Bunya, McDowall and Bridgeman Downs. Up to 100 meals a day are produced and distributed over 9 different runs. 

What makes this community orientated organisation so special is that they have grabbed the heart of their surrounding community. One great example is the help the Mitchelton Special School give MMOW. Every Friday, come rain hail or shine, a number of students who are undergoing their Certificate 1 in Active Volunteering arrive to complete a run in the school bus. Not only does this help the team and consumers of MMOW but it also helps the students on the pathway to their future.

What is phenomenal is that, although MMOW receives a limited amount of funding, the organisation relies almost exclusively on volunteers to prepare cook and deliver its meals. There are only two paid positions at the MMOW (the Chef and office admin), the rest of the crew comprises of volunteers. Wendy Emery, Service Coordinator, explained that Mitchelton Meals on Wheels is currently in a very difficult position, as the need for volunteers is at an all time high. 

‘We require alot more people to be able to run the kitchen as efficiently as possible,’ said Wendy. ‘The last thing we want to do is to overload our current volunteers, however we really need to take the pressure off them. No prior experience is required, just a willingness to help others and give back to the community.’

Essentially there are two positions – Kitchen Helpers and Delivery Drivers/Co-Drivers.

Helping in the kitchen is usually from around 6am – 10am. There are a variety of duties that can be anything from labelling, to food prep, assembly and washing up. The driving shift is generally from 10.15am for 1-2 hours. Volunteers will pair up (a driver and co-driver) and deliver meals on different runs. A fuel allowance is given to volunteers. Many volunteer’s ,Wendy says, put this allowance into the donation box.

‘We will take whatever we can get, even if it’s a few hours a week that someone has to spare,’ said Wendy.

‘Perhaps you are a hubby and wife team, or two friends, that just want to team up and deliver. At the end of the day it’s an ideal excuse to share a cuppa and chat whilst delivering for a good cause.’

It’s not only clients whose lives are enhanced by the work that Meals on Wheels do. People who give time to Meals on Wheels say volunteering has added a new dimension to their lives. The satisfaction of doing something practical yet personal is reward in itself.“

‘I look forward to my designated days helping at MMOW. It’s the social aspect I love, along with being able to help out my neighbours. I have made many friends through my volunteering here,’ said Volunteer Russell Moody.

If you have a little bit of time to give back to the community or you would like more information about helping MMOW please contact  office@mitmow.org.au or call 3354 3919.

PS. Look out for our monthly Volunteer profiles in the upcoming editions of The Hills Echo where we will gain a bit of insight into the volunteers that are at the heart of this organisation.

Students from Mitchelton Special School volunteer every Friday
Students from Mitchelton Special School volunteer every Friday
Students from Mitchelton Special School volunteer every Friday
Students from Mitchelton Special School volunteer every Friday

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