Demand for the Meals on Wheels food delivery service has soared by 50% in some regions of Australia during the COVID-19 health crisis.
“Deliveries of prepared meals have helped support hundreds of thousands of senior Australians, amid a spike in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Minister for Aged Care and Seniors Australians, Senator Richard Colbeck.
Yesterday was National Meals on Wheels Day, a day to acknowledge the vital Meals on Wheels service and its largely volunteer workforce, the Minister said.
Mr Colbeck said deliveries of prepared meals had increased by up to 50 per cent in some parts of the nation during the pandemic
“With the impact of both the bushfires and the pandemic, the care and wellbeing of senior Australians has been a priority this year, and meals services and food security have become even more important,” Mr Colbeck said.
“This is why the Australian Government has provided an additional $59.3 million to ensure more prepared meals, food staples and essential daily items are delivered to those who need them most.”
For more than 60 years, Meals on Wheels has been operating in hundreds of metropolitan and rural communities nationally.
More than 10 million meals every year are delivered with the support of more than 76,000 Meals on Wheels volunteers.
Meal deliveries are available through Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP).
A survey of CHSP providers who signed up for the funding for extra meal deliveries, including Meals on Wheels, found that:
- Services in NSW and Tasmania reported increased demand of 40 to 50 per cent compared to last year;
- Most providers are delivering meals to new clients;
- A number of providers are delivering meals to existing CHSP clients who were previously not receiving meals;
- Partnerships with other organisations, including local councils, have been vital in allowing providers to meet extra demand.
Meal deliveries can be organised by contacting CHSP meals providers directly, or through My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or on the internet.