Heroes don’t all wear capes – Kāpiti Meals on Wheels keeps rolling along

Luella Jensen is a Kāpiti co-ordinator for Meals on Wheels. Photo provided by Angela Robertson.

The country may be in the grip of a pandemic but that has not stopped the dedicated group of volunteers who deliver 85 meals a day in Kāpiti as part of the Meals On Wheels effort.

Meals on Wheels is deemed to be an ‘essential service’ and Luella Jensen is the co-ordinator for Paraparaumu and Raumati Meals on Wheels and has been involved since 2003.

“It is very interesting and very rewarding and the feedback we get is wonderful,” says Luella.

“Clients are so grateful and appreciative to have a nutritious meal delivered. The meals are all done under the auspices of a dietician and are designed for individual needs, whether that is vegan, vegetarian or any other specific requirement.”

Kāpiti’s Meals on Wheels operates out of the KCDC Council Depot and there are currently 48 volunteer drivers.

“The government restrictions around Covid-19 mean we cannot have any drivers over 70 and as we only had six drivers under 70 we have been able to fill the gap with drivers provided to us by Red Cross and Civil Defence. Some of our over 70s volunteers were a bit upset but rules are rules and hopefully it all gets back to normal as soon as is safely possible,” says Luella.

The meals are all prepared at Kenepuru Hospital and transported from there covering from Johnsonville to Waikanae.

“Spotless prepare the meals and they do an amazing job,” says Luella.

“Covid-19 has created a whole set of challenges for us but we have managed to keep things going along nicely and drivers follow a regime involving hand sanitisers and gloves.”

To qualify for Meals on Wheels clients need to be referred by their GP. There are no age limits and the criteria is broad.

For more info on Meals on Wheels see: https://www.redcross.org.nz/what-we-do/in-new-zealand/meals-wheels/