This National Meals on Wheels Day, Meals on Wheels is making an urgent call for more wheels.
The annual event, held on the last Wednesday in August, acknowledges and celebrates the dedication and commitment of over 45,000 Meals on Wheels volunteers nationally.
This year Meals on Wheels is flagging the need for more delivery drivers to keep the wheels of the more than 590 services across the country turning.
CEO of Meals on Wheels SA, Sharyn Broer, says volunteers play an integral role within the organisation, and with more older Australians needing the support of Meals on Wheels than ever, new volunteers are urgently required to ensure continual delivery of the service now and into the future.
"This Meals on Wheels Day, we are encouraging anyone who has a few hours to spare each week to reach out to their local Meals on Wheels service and offer their support by way of volunteering," Mrs Broer said.
"We have noticed a particular shortage in delivery drivers, who often use their own vehicles, so Meals on Wheels needs more wheels."
Mrs Broer says it's not just Meals on Wheels customers who benefit from the essential service.
"Recent research conducted by Volunteering Australia highlighted the positive impact volunteering had on preventing social isolation and feelings of loneliness in those who continued to donate their time during the COVID-19 pandemic," she said.
"At Meals on Wheels, we recognise the sense of pride and purpose volunteering at a local service offers, as well as opportunities to make new friends while making a real and positive difference within your local community. We truly are indebted to our volunteers and wish to thank them for their commitment and resilience over the last 18 months."
As part of this year's campaign, Meals on Wheels is also looking to inspire the next generation of volunteers by collaborating with local primary schools.
In the lead up to National Meals on Wheel Day, primary school students across the country are encouraged to create thank you cards, to give to volunteers at their local Meals on Wheels service.
"Our volunteers tell us that they don't need formal recognition, but we know that they would be thrilled to receive a handmade thank you card from a young student," Mrs Broer said.
"It also provides us with an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the benefits of volunteering, social responsibility and the importance of caring for vulnerable members of our community to the next generation of volunteers."
For more information on National Meals on Wheels Day 2021, go to mealsonwheels.org.au/news/national-meals-on-wheels-day-2021.