• Patrick McBride

Volunteers step up to fill in for Meals on Wheels deliveries

- The call went out and the hands went up.

Volunteers, Jack and Lynnette O'Connor sorting deliveries around Greymouth.

Meals on Wheels, which provides delivered meals to seniors and people with disabilities, has relied upon volunteers to deliver daily meals, many of those are typically older adults who are retired.

The pandemic drastically changed that as drivers who were at greater risk of becoming ill could no longer complete the daily task due to government guidelines.

With 85% of drivers unavailable, the volunteer base shifted with Red Cross coordinating a new roster of keen helpers from the community. Many whom took great pride in helping out.

"It has been an amazing experience to meet the elderly people, often hidden away and realise the value many put on both the meal and the short connection during the delivery," volunteers Jack and Lynnette O'Connor said.

In addition to providing a nutritious meal, much of the 'Meals on Wheels' programme is about human connection as many of the clients are seniors who may not have any other social interaction.