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COVID increased demand for Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels
Bundaberg Meals on Wheels volunteers have been thanked for stepping up to the challenge of increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bundaberg Meals on Wheels has taken the opportunity of their annual general meeting to acknowledge the outstanding work of its volunteers throughout the COVID pandemic.

According to president Jeff McColl, more people have been signing up for Bundaberg Meals on Wheels deliveries amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Firstly, I would like to recognise the dedication and efforts of our staff, ably led by our manager Brendon, the commitment of our committee members and the incredible efforts of our army of volunteers,” Jeff said.

“One outstanding feature of our volunteer army is how they readily answered the call during the COVID-19 unforeseen and stressful times.

“Most of our volunteers are over 65, so they were putting themselves at risk to maintain their dedicated service to our client’s wellbeing.

“I take this opportunity of expressing my sincere thanks to each and every volunteer.”

27 10 2020 Jeff McColl and Evan Hill at the Meals on Wheels AGM
Jeff McColl and Evan Hill at the Meals on Wheels annual meeting in Bundaberg.

Meals on Wheels busier than ever

As temporary restrictions shut down cafes, registered services clubs, pubs and more, and officials urged people to stay at home and practice social distancing, many residents turned to home delivery or takeaway options.

For Bundaberg Meals on Wheels this trend saw an increase in their overall deliveries.

Jeff said they also had to come up with a contingency plan to continue deliveries even if someone tested positive.

“We hired a shipping container freezer to store the extra 2000 frozen meals we felt were necessary to protect us under the worst case scenario,” Jeff said.

“Chef Michelle, cook Lisa, assistant Robyn and storeman Anthony, together with the team of kitchen volunteers, worked their butts off to ensure we were absolutely covered and to illustrate the fruits of their labour, we delivered a total of 62,067 meals this year, an increase of 10,667 over last year.”

In a year where food safety was even more important than ever, Bundaberg Meals on wheels passed health and hygiene audits with flying colours, and were granted a five-star rating from Bundaberg Regional Council.

While catering services were reduced due to the pandemic, the vintage car rally held in September was a blessing, with the group providing meals for more than 200 people.

Speaking at the annual meeting, Jeff said many Bundaberg residents rallied around the organisation during the pandemic, with many organisations making generous donations.

“We have taken advantage of the grants of up to $5000 from Bundaberg Regional Council, particularly to assist in upgrading our IT and office equipment,” Jeff said.

“Waves Sports Club held a golf day, with our service being the nominated recipient of the proceeds. That resulted in a record fund raising event, it was the first ever to raise more than $10,000.”

“We were blessed during the year with donations. The local Lions Clubs, Lioness Club Tyrian Lodge continued their much-appreciated support and our farmers continued their wonderful donations of produce.

“That speaks volumes for our community.”

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