Friday, 03 November 2023
Meals on Wheels Awardee Day
Rod, and I as patron, are very pleased to join you at today’s Awardee Day to thank the volunteers who are at the heart of the Meals on Wheels SA family.
Last year, Rod and I visited the Hindmarsh branch where we learnt about what happens behind the scenes every day.
We met with kitchen volunteers who work, from early in the morning, to create delicious and nutritious meals that your clients eagerly anticipate and enjoy.
We were impressed by your management of what seemed like complicated logistics – red/yellow, A and B, special meals …I thought to myself there could be lots of ways this could go wrong. It is to your credit that it goes right.
Afterwards, I shared with my mother a meal of lasagna, green beans, and jelly trifle prepared by volunteers.
It was delicious and, interestingly, my Instagram post received over 1,100 “likes”, an indication of well regarded Meals on Wheels’ is in our community.
Inspired by what we saw, Rod now volunteers as a Meals on Wheels driver.
At its core, Meals on Wheels is about nourishment, but it goes far beyond simply providing food.
It’s about respect and care and friendly daily contact and providing a talking point for the rest of the day.
Delivery drivers are friendly people who link Meals on Wheels with people who rely on your services.
For many of the individuals you serve, you are companions, friends, and, sometimes, the only human interaction they have all day.
Whether you are in the kitchen or in the car, your work enables people to remain in their homes.
Meals on Wheels is especially important in regional communities, where distances can be long and access to services may be limited.
I am pleased to see so many volunteers from right across the state, including the Murraylands, the Barossa Valley and the Mid North here with us today.
In celebrating the achievements of today’s awardees, we must also recognise the families and friends who have supported them in their service journey.
As we will hear shortly, many of the long-serving volunteers started their Meals on Wheels service with their parents, relatives, or friends.
I am told that the collective number of years that the volunteers attending today’s event have completed is 1,970 years.
For an individual to serve an organisation for decades, in some cases half a century, is testament to the strength of the Meals on Wheels community.
Events such as these are integral to the volunteer support system of Meals on Wheels, and I commend the board and staff for your exceptional support of your volunteers.
As we look forward to celebrating 70 years of Meals on Wheels SA next year, we do so with great pride in the lives it has touched.
I thank all volunteers for their commitment to Meals on Wheels and for making our communities better and brighter.
Your dedication, compassion and service are the ingredients that make Meals on Wheels a success.
Congratulations and may you continue to serve those in need, one meal at a time.