Kiama Meals on Wheels marking 50 years of service

Mrs Cardwell and Mrs Bones delivering the first meal to Mrs Duggan of Shoalhaven Street in September 1970

In 1970, the compassion and foresight of three Kiama neighbours resulted in the establishment of a local institution that has stood the test of time.

“They wanted to supply meals to people in Kiama who were unable to prepare their own,” says Kiama Meals on Wheels Manager, Joanne North.

“Since its humble beginnings operating out of Kiama Hospital kitchen, the service has gone from supplying eight meals a day to around 500 meals per week this year.

“This service is not only a meal delivery, but it provides social interaction and a friendly check of a client’s wellbeing so that we can empower people to live independently. “

Plans had been made for a major celebration event at The Pavilion, but this has been postponed due to the current situation.

“Hopefully 2021 will see a belated celebration for the clients, volunteers, staff and local community,” says Ms North.

Amazingly, some of the volunteers have been with Kiama Meals on Wheels since its inception.

Marion Witheridge and Ann Dawes were young mums when they first began volunteering for Kiama Meals on Wheels 50 years ago

Ann Dawes was one of the founding volunteers in 1970 and at 80, until COVID struck, was still delivering meals to those who need them. She continues to serve as Vice President.

“It has been a great thing to be involved with.

“People not only get a good meal, but they get to have a chat and know the community cares about them.”

Mayor Mark Honey is keen add his congratulations to the organisation on its fiftieth anniversary.

“It is an extraordinary achievement, by an extraordinary group of people.

“I am in awe of those who have been with the service the entire time, or close to it.

“In the current environment, the service Meals on Wheels is providing is even more important, and the whole community is grateful.”

As previously reported in The Bugle, the pandemic has seen a significant rise in the meals supplied as many more people were advised to self-isolate.

“Over the past five months it has been imperative for us to continue to provide nutritious meals to our existing and new clients and to keep an eye on the social welfare of clients,” says Ms North.

“Operations had to be changed very quickly as new procedures were created.”

She is pleased that the more than120 volunteers are slowly being re-introduced onto the delivery runs.

“Physically contact-less delivery is now taking place by our volunteers, with them all wearing masks and gloves, but the social contact is being maintained.

“We’d would like to thank all of our community donations during these unprecedented times.”

The 2020 AGM will be at Kiama Bowling Club on Tues 15 Sept, 10.30am. It will be a closed meeting due to COVID restrictions

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