Meals on Wheels
Volunteer with Meals on Wheels and deliver nutritional hot dishes to people who cannot prepare meals for themselves. This is a valuable service for vulnerable members of your community. Just a couple of hours a week can help make a big difference and ensure that individuals have at least one decent meal a day. The service supports people to live independently in society. Get involved and make new friends as you work in a team providing practical assistance in people’s homes.
Who can Benefit?Anyone who is unable to prepare their own meals can benefit from a meals on wheels service. This may be due to difficulties in shopping or with the preparation of food itself. This includes the elderly, disabled people and people with learning difficulties as well as people recovering from accidents and illness.
Who can Volunteer?Anyone over 18 can volunteer although a driving licence is helpful. People with cookery skills are also very welcome. You need to be friendly, reliable and able to get on with people of all backgrounds. Volunteers usually need to be free over lunchtimes during the day. As you will be going into the homes of vulnerable people you will need to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau/Disclosure Scotland background check.
What is Involved?Home meals services are run by various organisations such as local authorities and the WRVS (Women’s Royal Voluntary Service.) You will receive training and a vehicle may be supplied but drivers usually provide their own vehicle.
You will collect meals from a central point such as local schools and then deliver hot meals or frozen meals for those who are able to heat dishes up. There is usually a choice of meals with special requirements taken into account. This includes vegetarian meals, gluten or dairy-free meals and those meeting religious requirements. Meals are also designed for nutritional balance.
Individuals sign up for a service and agree how often they will receive meals and which kind of meals they need. For local authority meals in some places people need to be referred by a GP or other health professional for the service. In this case they will usually be housebound, live alone and unable to prepare or cook meals for themselves.
Some services provide the loan of freezers and microwaves and you may be involved with the delivery and installation of these and take time to demonstrate them to individuals in their own home.
There is normally a small charge for the service and part of your role will be to take payments. Your delivery may be the only social contact someone has that day. As well as providing them with vital sustenance it is important that you bring a positive attitude and take time to chat and to listen to any problems or concerns they may have. Your deliveries may bring vital routine into an individual’s day and you will be playing an important role by checking on an individual’s wellbeing.
Frequency of deliveries vary, some may be two or three times a week while other services run seven days a week and on public holidays. For people who may be isolated and vulnerable this ensures that they eat a nutritional meal at least once a day and that they feel valued and connected to society. It also ensures that they are able to continue leading independent lives in the community.