Meals on Wheels Health Edication Gippsland South Sale Rosedale Seaspray Volunteers Families The Nationals

Meals on wheels volunteers serve up 50 years

Serving up healthy, hot and tasty meals to isolated and aging members of the community for more than 55 years combined, Sale’s Alan Caldwell and Lenie Smolenaars will be among the volunteers celebrating National Meals on Wheels Day next Wednesday.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien this week caught up with Mr Caldwell and Mrs Smolenaars to learn about what motivates them to keep delivering meals.

“Lenie and Alan are just two of the extremely dedicated volunteers who have spent countless hours delivering meals to members of our community through the Central Gippsland Health Service Meals on Wheels program,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The Wellington program prepares around 11,500 meals per year and services areas as far as Loch Sport, Rosedale and Maffra. These meals are delivered by a group of 90 volunteers, which consists of individuals, schools and businesses.

“This would not be possible without the wonderful work of the many volunteers that are currently or have been involved in the program over the years.”

Mr Caldwell said he had been delivering Meals on Wheels for the past 30 years.

“Sometimes you're the only company they have or the only people they see during the week, so it’s about being there for them too and making sure they’re okay,” he said.

Mrs Smolenaars, a volunteer of 25 years, said she had seen a number of changes in the type of meals from when she first began with the service.

“Meals used to be delivered hot and you’d take around soup in a Thermos. These days, meals are delivered cold and then the clients heat them in the microwave at their own convenience,” she said.

Mr O’Brien said volunteers, such as those involved in the Meals on Wheels service, are the lifeblood of regional communities and it's important that people of all ages continue to donate their time.

“These volunteers provide such a great service to our local community and I encourage anyone interested in donating even an hour of their time to deliver meals to make contact with the hospital in Sale,” Mr O’Brien said.

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The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien with Alan Caldwell, Lenie Smolenaars and Mandy Pusmucans (Central Gippsland Health Service Director of Community Services).

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