Meals Help Horsham Residents Retain Their Independence

A daily Meals on Wheels delivery through Grampians Community Health is helping Evelyn and Ronald Smith to settle into their new surroundings in Horsham.

At 89, Ronald is recovering from a triple heart bypass and Evelyn has limited mobility after suffering a stroke about five years ago.

They moved into a new home in Horsham about four months ago, and deliveries of Meals on Wheels during the week has made the transition much easier.

“I had just come out of hospital and we haven’t been able to go out too much,” Mr Smith said.

“I’m getting my balance back and my strength is coming back. I’m feeling much better but it’s much easier for me to have meals delivered rather than having to get around to organise something.”

The couple has been married for more than 56 years and had lived on their sheep and wheat farm until four months ago.

“When I was in hospital, we decided it was best to move into town,” Mr Smith said. “I wasn’t able to drive so having meals delivered helped us has been a big help.

“We’re very happy with the meals.”

The three-course nutritious meals are prepared by Wimmera Base Hospital and provided five days a week and delivered by volunteers co-ordinated by Centre for Participation.

Grampians Community Health (GCH) Community Assist program leader Angela Murphy said GCH provides the Meals on Wheels service in Horsham with around 230 meals being delivered to mostly elderly people each week.

Meals on Wheels Day is celebrated on August 31, recognising the 45,000 volunteers, who support vulnerable members of the Australian community, across nearly 600 service locations.

Meals on Wheels has been operating for more than 60 years.

As part of this year’s campaign for Meals on Wheels Day, the organisation is focusing on the need for more volunteers.

Over the past 18 months, Meals on Wheels has faced a number of challenges, from devastating bushfires, to floods and the COVID-19 pandemic, but volunteers continued turn up at their local service and make sure no one went hungry.

“The service could not be delivered without great support by volunteers,” Ms Murphy, said.

“They also provide an important social connection for clients,” she added.

Having noticed a decline in volunteers over the past 12 months, Meals on Wheels is focusing on the urgent need for volunteer delivery drivers Anyone interested in receiving Meals on Wheels needs to register with or call 1800 200 422.

Centre for Participation will host an afternoon tea for Meals on Wheels volunteers at 2pm on Wednesday August 31 at the Laneway Café Without Borders, Federation University Cafeteria to celebrate National Meals on Wheels Day.

Centre for Participation has a Wimmera volunteer pool of 376 volunteers, which covers more than Meals on Wheels, and is always looking for more volunteers.