New Zealand Red Cross - Kāpiti Meals on Wheels volunteers - Volunteer Story Comp 2022

The Meals on Wheels programme run by New Zealand Red Cross in Kāpiti Coast is spear-headed by a group of dedicated and friendly volunteers. Meals on Wheels is nothing without these volunteers, so we just want to say a big, heart-felt thank you to them. The incredible mahi and aroha that they bring is really wonderful to see.

The programme delivers hot meals to people who need it, giving independence to many elderly, disabled, ill and recovering people. The New Zealand government has recognised it as an ‘essential service’, as it provides much-needed food and allows people to check in with those at home to see if they need other help. Just from the start of the year to April, volunteers in Kāpiti Coast contributed an impressive 855 hours, delivering nearly 7000 meals!

But the volunteers make it more than just meals, as they strive to create a sense of trust and friendship with recipients, offering a warm smile and conversation. This has been made both more difficult and even more important with COVID lockdowns and social distancing, but they have done an amazing job in keeping the heart of Meals on Wheels alive, having social distanced conversations and keeping recipients safe and connected. Thanks to its volunteers, the programme has been able to run for decades, with some people having been volunteers or recipients with Meals on Wheels for many years.

We also want to say a special thank you to the coordinators (who are also volunteers) for their tireless effort. Marty Barrett (in the photos) acts as the lead coordinator and ensures Meals on Wheels stays on track. Maree, Allison and Joan coordinate Paraparaumu, Waikanae and Paekakariki respectively, setting up daily duty rosters for the volunteer drivers, collecting meals from the DHB hospital (including those with specific dietary requirements for recipients on strict regimens) and handing them out to drivers to deliver. Since COVID began, they have also been working through issues such as reorganising around drivers who are ill or isolating.

All the Meals on Wheels volunteers go above and beyond in making it a meaningful programme. We are so grateful to them and proud of their mahi.

What makes the volunteer or team of volunteers special?

Their inspiring mahi and compassion, and their dedication to the cause.