Meals on Wheels SA has been delivering nutritious and flavoursome meals to the homes of older South Australians for over 65 years. But its new, expanded service, My W.I.S.E Choice which focuses on social connection and reablement, is allowing volunteers to spend more time with the customers they care deeply about, both inside the home and out in the community.
We heard from dual volunteers Jill and Kay, who not only help prepare meals at their local branch, but are also providing valuable social engagement through the My W.I.S.E Choice Program.
My Nanna proudly wore her Meals on Wheels SA 20 year badge as she went to the Port Adelaide kitchen back in the ‘50s. It was the highlight of her week!
Remembering how much she enjoyed her time with MoW, when my position in a residential aged care facility became non-existent last December, I decided it was the right time for me to put in an application to MoW.
Starting with weekly deliveries in Campbelltown in March, I then heard about the My W.I.S.E Choice Program and thought it would be perfect for me, as I was studying the Cert 3 in Individual Support for Ageing/Disability. Helen’s induction afternoon was great, and I joined the WISE team. So along with some paid community work, I have a weekly catchup with my W.I.S.E client, the monthly branch luncheon, and have also kept my name on the ‘emergency’ list for deliveries.
A highlight for me has been the branch lunch. It is so rewarding to see elderly folk happily enjoying a relaxed meal in the company of others. Previously, when working in the care facility, it was all rush, rush!
Joining Jennie’s Zoom meetings is something I’m working on. It’s a great way to keep in the loop with other volunteers. Somehow I don’t think my Nanna did Zoom meetings, but I imagine those feelings of contributing, purpose, meeting new people and ‘getting out of the house’ are still the same.
I feel lucky to be one of the volunteers, and would say to anyone thinking about it…”go for it”.
I started volunteering on a Friday morning back in July and have continued to cook in the Campbelltown kitchen once a week since then. It has certainly been challenging cooking around 120 meals every Friday morning and I am involved with the main courses that are offered each week. The Coffee Club, which I will be involved in, starts on the 17th of November. This will be the first and probably happen once a month.
I decided to volunteer for the My W.I.S.E Choice Program as well, for the contact you have with the customers, just seeing up close how this can enrich their lives by having this organised for them and to give them time with other people so they are not so isolated. My mother passed away last December and I guess also it is a way I can still have contact with her generation now that she is no longer here.
Now that I have retired, it is a way I can give back to the community that I didn’t have time for before. It also keeps me engaged with the world outside of home so that I meet new people and learn new things and replaces the time and effort that used to go into my job with something worthwhile.
To anyone looking for something to do to help them feel connected with the community, working either in one of the kitchens or with the My W.I.S.E Choice Program, these both can be very rewarding. There is definitely scope for a variety of activities to volunteer in regardless of your interests, you just need to contact Meals on Wheels and have a chat.
To register your interest in volunteering for the My W.I.S.E Choice Program call 0478 710 459 or email firstname.lastname@example.org