Meals on Wheels looking for volunteers

Team: Jennie Keough (left) and Glenice Bourne deliver Meals on Wheels this week.
Team: Jennie Keough (left) and Glenice Bourne deliver Meals on Wheels this week.

Meals on Wheels has been operating since 1969, and Glenice Bourne has been volunteering for 40 of those years.

“There are plenty of people who have done longer service,” Glenice said with modesty. “I just do Meals and Wheels because it’s wonderful to catch up with people.”

Glenice recalls that Meals on Wheels used to be called the “Red Cross Meals Transport Service”, and members not only delivered the meals but assisted with preparation at the hospital.

Cath Hill, of the Red Cross, approached Glenice to become a volunteer in 1977. 

For many years Glenice worked with Ada Hansford – she now works with Jennie Keough.

It’s very rewarding work for people like Glenice and Jenny, and they encourage others to become delivery volunteers with Meals on Wheels.

“Volunteers are made to feel very welcome, and people are appreciative of the service provided,” Glenice said.

Volunteers work in pairs for safety and security reasons. An assistant provides testimony if something happens on the route, and also assists with emergencies, medical or otherwise.

Meals are now in ergonomic cooler bags, but they used to be in large steel containers. The meals would have to be divided equally among recipients.

Jennie and Glenice ring the doorbell to see if their recipient is home, and if not, they circle back and try again later.

For health and safety reasons food can’t be left outside, but in Naracoorte, sometimes a kind neighbour will tell the ladies where the recipient is and offer to deliver the food.

There are presently three routes in Naracoorte, and 30 volunteers work in pairs, five days a week.

Several business houses supply volunteers to the organisation.

“It’s the pleasure received in being able to provide a meal to needy people who are always most appreciative,” Glenice said.

“It’s an opportunity for a brief chat, and to check that they’re okay.”

Originally Meals on Wheels volunteers spent more time with the receivers as they served from the steel containers, and on Fridays, payments were collected and receipts delivered.

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer, contact Lorraine Kilgore, the Meals on Wheels roster coordinator, on 0414438472.