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Meals on Wheels go off the boil at Palm Beach

The volunteer brigade for Meals on Wheels may be in decline but Doreen and Gordon Long are ready to assist Meals on Wheels vice
The volunteer brigade for Meals on Wheels may be in decline but Doreen and Gordon Long are ready to assist Meals on Wheels vice



A DESPERATE plea goes out from Palm Beach Meals on Wheels for volunteers to boost the current rapidly declining volunteers' roster.

Spokeswoman Olive Pohlmann, one of the mainstays of the service, told The Mail that without more volunteers to deliver the meals the service may be forced to cut down deliveries by two days a week.

Receiving the meals on a regular basis is one of the most important of the caring services in that it enables the elderly, the frail or disabled to stay in their own homes, and that means all the world to them.

Even though meals prepared at the Palm Beach Meals on Wheels kitchen at the Share 'n' Care Community Centre are chilled when delivered ready to pop into the fridge and heated when needed, delivering them five days a week is a healthy safety valve which Mrs Pohlmann hopes with all her heart can continue.

But, as she explained, gaining volunteers was like being between a rock and a hard place.

"Volunteers are usually aged between the 50 and 60s," she said.

"But in a changing society, people in this age group seem to be working. Young people are working, so where do we get the volunteers?

"It's not only Palm Beach that's in trouble, the need for extra hands is coast-wide.

"I am only hoping that nearby there are those who are able to make a commitment to give some time to us ? one morning or two a week would be so helpful," Mrs Pohlmann said.

There's probably no better volunteering environment than the Meals place at Share 'n' Care.

It's modern and up-to-date and the service has a car to transport the meals because of the difficulty of getting drivers with their own cars.

Maybe there are those in the community with enough time available to add Meals on Wheels to their new year's resolutions.

The Palm Beach Meals on Wheels service has grown up with the Share 'n' Care Centre, known as the hub of Palm Beach community life.

As Mrs Pohlmann recalls, the service began through the warm heart of late artist Mary Beasley, a sister to the late zoologist Dr David Fleay. Mrs Beasley, aware of those unable to cook for themselves as they should, prepared meals in her own home and delivered them.

As things do, the service and the call for meals grew and grew until finding a kitchen became urgent.

So it moved in years ago to Share 'n' Care which had been established with a lot of "think big" advice from the late senior citizens advocate Des Stanaforth.

In its early days, Share 'n' Care was one of the rare community centres of Australia that provided such a wide range of activities for the residents and visitors, and those activities are now many, from games to dance clubs, cards, meetings, craft lessons and Meals, so much an essential service to the homebound.

Cr Daphne McDonald has joined Olive Pohlmann's appeal for volunteers. As a young person at Palm Beach, she served on Meals but said the call and cause for volunteers was far more urgent now as more and more people were encouraged to stay at home as long as they possibly could.

Those who can answer the call are invited to contact Olive Pohlmann on 5576 0160.



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