It’s been a very busy winter here and spring has arrive early! In addition to our usual flow of activity, some of you may have noticed a staffing change. Tanya has moved on from our office and we welcome our new Administration Officer and Volunteer Coordinator Danielle to the team.
As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of Meals on Wheels commencing in Australia, we reflect on our own beginnings here in Armidale in 1966 and you can be sure we will celebrate our own 60th birthday in style in 2026!
Some of you may recall a survey issued to all volunteers and clients of our service on the Social Impact of Meals on Wheels. The idea was to capture data around what we already know but has not been quantified in the past. The Social benefits for our clients of having a regular and trusted visitor to their home, bringing a nutritious meal and a friendly smile. Also, for the volunteers the fulfilment and community connection they gain from the simple yet generous gift of time and service to those who need a little help at home.
We will provide some of the findings from the report as it does make for very interesting reading, but is also quite long! Multiple MOW services in NSW were surveyed with hundreds of responses from both clients and volunteers providing a broad range of answers to review.
You will probably not be surprised to learn that 93% of the volunteers said their age was over 51yrs; reflecting the dedication our volunteers have, over 40% of respondents have been volunteering for MOW for up to 5 years, 18% for up to 10years,16% for up to 30yrs and an amazing 8% for OVER 30 years. That’s incredible! The data collected and compared to the national average indicated that Meals on Wheels volunteers have a higher level of wellbeing compared to volunteers of ANY other service!
Clients in rural and regional areas indicated a stronger sense of wellbeing and security from their regular service, compared to those living in urban areas. For me, the most interesting data was that the length of time spent with each client makes more difference than the number of visits to a client. Also being able to see the same person regularly makes a big difference to social connection.
We will continue to do our best to keep our drivers on their regular runs when we can, and we hope each of our volunteers can take a few minutes to stop for a chat – but not for too long if they’re running late.
This small gift of precious time is what makes us MORE than Just a Meal!
Kerryn Williams, Manager