Behind every successful organisation is a dedicated team, and Deni Meals on Wheels is no different.
More than 85 registered volunteers help keep the local branch’s wheels turning, and local woman Sandra Thomas has clocked up more than 30 years of service during her time with Deni Meals on Wheels.
Mrs Thomas first joined as a volunteer in the 1970s.
‘‘I used to do the deliveries quite a bit with my sister-in law (Denise Thomas),’’ she said.
‘‘It was nice to go into houses and take them meals, and I knew some of them, too.
‘‘We did monthly runs and I enjoyed popping in and having a chat to the clients — the social aspect was great.’’
Mrs Thomas said her time with the organisation was highly rewarding, and served as an opportunity to give back to the community.
‘‘The people we visited, they really needed it. They’d say, ‘this is great, I wouldn’t cook this’,’’ she said.
Deni Meals on Wheels coordinator Michelle Hand-Beehag said volunteers like Mrs Thomas are the backbone of the organisation. Ms Hand-Beehag began volunteering herself in the early 1980s, where she would help her grandma deliver meals in the school holidays.
‘‘Without our incredibly loyal and hardworking volunteers, Meals on Wheels wouldn’t be here,’’ she said.
‘‘They help provide a great service, and most make an outing of their delivery runs. They’ll meet up, have a chat, grab a coffee or maybe some lunch — it’s all about social interaction with both clients and each other.
‘‘It’s especially rewarding because volunteers are able to see the difference their involvement makes.
‘‘It may be one of the clients is a little happier each week, or putting on weight after switching to better quality meals.’’
As well as their dedicated volunteers, Meals on Wheels has recruited staff and members from a number of Deniliquin businesses and organisations to volunteer their time.
‘‘Becoming a volunteer helps you help them, and everyone enjoys it because you’re smiling and they’re smiling,’’ Ms Hand-Beehag said.
‘‘We’re always looking for more volunteers, and they can be any age, or come from any background or skill level.’’