The recent community outcry, following the Iluka Meals on Wheels (MoW) service converting to frozen meals due to inadequate available funding, has prompted the Grafton service to remind people that it is still cooking and delivering meals to its clients.
“We really want to strike home about the fact that we cook local, we deliver fresh and we provide more than just a meal,” Grafton District MoW (GMoW) general manager Stephen Avery said.
Mr Avery said GMoW uses “local products daily and [we] will be around into the foreseeable future”.
He said that the monthly gatherings at GMoW’s headquarters build on MoW’s ‘more than just a meal’ slogan, which personifies the organisation’s purpose, ‘to support well-nourished and independent communities through the delivery of a nutritious meal, social connection and a wellbeing check by our dedicated volunteer workforce’.
“Our volunteers contribute significantly to the organisation; we would struggle to be viable without their help and support,” he said.
“We not only deliver beautiful home cooked meals, we also check on our clients’ wellbeing – for the most part our volunteers know all of our clients by name and the social interaction is a benefit to both our clients and volunteers.”
On a daily basis, GMoW volunteers deliver between 80 and 100 hot meals and 30 to 50 frozen meals (cooked and prepared by GMoW) to its 150 clients.
“We also prepare weekly orders for the Ballina and Casino [MoW branches],” Mr Avery said.
“Eight to 10 volunteers, from our pool of just over 100, work each day; two to each car, and we employ 13 staff, nine of whom are casual.”
Mr Avery said that the frozen meals GMoW prepares are given a “shelf life of three months”.
“If it can sit for 21 months in a freezer, I don’t know if want my grandmother eating it,” he said.
“In any case, we are always mindful of our financial situation, as any not for profit organisation is, but strive to provide the highest quality nutritional meals as cheap as we can.”