Deliveries of prepared meals have helped support hundreds of thousands of senior Australians, amid a spike in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, National Meals on Wheels Day, the Australian Government acknowledges the vital Meals on Wheels service and its largely volunteer workforce.
The Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Senator Richard Colbeck, said significant investment from the Australian Government had reinforced the service during a challenging time.
Deliveries of prepared meals have increased by up to 50 per cent in some parts of the nation.
“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,” Minister 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.
The Government provided an additional $59.3 million to enable more prepared meals, food staples and essential daily items to be delivered to older people who needed them.
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.
Meals delivery is one of the services provided under the CHSP. In 2019-20, more than 580 different meals providers were funded, including Meals on Wheels services.
The CHSP assists older people with limitations in their ability to remain living independently at home and in their community.