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Community service drives on through pandemic


Meals on Wheels Newcastle is still dedicated to feeding people “no matter what” as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the country.

The organisation’s General Manager, Damien Isaacs, said its branches helped so many vulnerable people in the local community during this trying time.

“At important times like this, we represent some of the infrastructure that is necessary in society,” he said.

“We help so many people and our impact is far reaching in the community.

”Meals on Wheels Newcastle has eight branches throughout the area and helps hundreds of local community members.

While its focus is on delivering food, it also has programs to promote social connection between volunteers and clients.

Mr Isaacs said a Have A Chat program – an initiative where volunteers call clients and have conversations – has become even more important.

“What it involves at the moment is calling our clients and making sure they are okay and have all the information they need,” he said.

“Isolation is the best way to reduce infection risks, but it can also be really lonely.

“So, our staff and volunteers call up to check in and provide a little bit of companionship.”

He added that clients were ordering slightly more than usual but believed this was due to the current state of the supermarket shelves.

The Newcastle branches are also a part of a new program between Meals on Wheels and Woolworths, which has provided a four pack of toilet paper for their clients. While the pandemic hasn’t affected operations, Meals on Wheels has a series of contingency plans to be able to adapt if the situation changes.

Project Officer Ayla Jade said the organisation was recruiting more volunteers in a bid to build a strong base if existing members needed to self-isolate.

“We’re trying to keep it as normal as possible and [want] to make sure our clients are okay,” she said.

“We are constantly growing our service and we need more volunteers.”

Visit mow.net.au for more information.

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