Meals on Wheels manager Jane White is desperatley seeking more Ipswich volunteers.
Meals on Wheels manager Jane White is desperatley seeking more Ipswich volunteers. Rob Williams

Kitchen needs crew

DO YOU fancy yourself a dab hand in the kitchen, or enjoy interacting with a range of people?

Then Meals on Wheels could be the perfect outlet for you.

Ipswich Meals on Wheels manager Jane White said the organisation needed at least 20 volunteers after a recent spate of resignations left it desperately short of drivers and kitchen hands.

So understaffed are they since several longstanding volunteers retired, meals had to be sent out by taxi this week.

“We are making do with people off our emergency list and asking existing volunteers to fill in on other days, but we can't continue to do that,” Mrs White said.

“At present none ask for reimbursement of fuel, but that may change if fuel prices go up.”

Mrs White said many volunteers were approaching ‘retirement' from the service, with more people needed to ease the pressure on overstretched staff.

“We have been going really well up until now,” she said.

“But we have volunteers who have put in a considerable amount of time pull the pin.

“One lady has been with us for 35 years, so it is understandable.”

She said the while the service catered to 190 clients on average, at peak periods during the year, this figure was closer to 500.

“The majority are elderly, although we do have a few younger disabled people,” Mrs White said.

“Quite a high percentage are in their 90s.”

Mrs White said it was a caring organisation that provided more then just a meal, with volunteers informally keeping an eye on clients and their well-being.

“For a lot of our clients the visit and interaction with the drivers is just as important as the food,” she said. “Some of our clients live alone, and speaking to our drivers is the only interaction they have.

Kitchen hours varied from 6 to 9am, with volunteers mainly needed on Wednesdays and Fridays. Drivers were required daily from 10.30am to noon.

To sign up as a volunteer, contact 3281 4465.



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