This year National Meals on Wheels Day, on Wednesday 26th of August will recognise our dedicated volunteer workforce who have stepped up to help protect the health and wellbeing of vulnerable Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meals on Wheels Australia President, Sharyn Broer says the iconic organisation is incredibly grateful for the unwavering commitment and generosity of the 76,000 people who volunteer for Meals on Wheels, ensuring older Australians remain nourished and safe at home, not only during a pandemic, but every day.
“We are so thankful for our volunteers. Regardless of the emergency – devastating bushfires, or in a pandemic, our volunteers continue to roll up their sleeves and deliver life-changing support.”
Mrs Broer says Meals on Wheels services and the volunteer workforce have demonstrated immense resilience through the pandemic, however, the sustainability of services remains uncertain.
Ensuring well-nourished communities for years to come
Meals on Wheels Australia has been calling for an urgent increase in Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) funding, to ensure the ongoing viability of services.
During the COVID-19 pandemic the Federal Government provided vital additional funding, allowing Meals on Wheels services to continue delivering nutritious meals to an increased number of vulnerable members of the community.
“We reported a significant increase in demand for our services nation-wide, with many Australians facing food insecurity for the very first time,’ Mrs Broer said.
“We are so thankful to the Government for supporting Meals on Wheels during this uncertain time through the increase in funding,” Mrs Broer said.
“Thanks to Meals on Wheels, no one went hungry!”
Urgent need for increased funding acknowledged by Government
Recently the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck MP acknowledged the inequitable distribution of funding and advised Meals on Wheels Australia of an upcoming funding review for meal service providers, within the next 12 months.
“We are pleased the Government has recognised the problem, however, our concerns remain about the timing of the review and the impact this will have on services that are already struggling to remain financially viable,” Mrs Broer said.
“Time and time again, whatever the emergency, Australians will look to us to support well-nourished communities and create meaningful connections… and we want to be here to do that,” Mrs Broer said.
Meals on Wheels Australia is looking forward to a swift and favourable review outcome to ensure we can continue delivering affordable nutritious meals, social connection and wellbeing checks to those who need it most.