Morning Tea for the Board of Queensland Meals on Wheels
Kaye and I welcome you warmly today to one of the first official events at Government House since COVID-related restrictions were recently eased.
For decades, Meals on Wheels has represented a vital service for Queenslanders who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to prepare regular meals for themselves. Indeed, I congratulate the many branches that celebrate significant anniversaries in 2020 – up to 60 years of wonderful service for the Toowoomba division!
When the COVID pandemic dramatically changed our lives earlier this year, the importance of Meals on Wheels increased even further as many clients isolated themselves in their homes.
Statistics tell part of the story. From March to May this year, the organisation delivered 132,000 more meals than usual supporting an additional 5,000 Queenslanders – a 25 percent increase.
There were and are challenges for Meals on Wheels beyond increased demand. The organisation’s older volunteers – like their Governor! – had to consider their own vulnerability to the COVID virus. And changing COVID regulations still need to be closely monitored and complied with.
But the extraordinary Meals on Wheels family has responded, as always, with energy, dedication, flexibility and sheer hard work.
Meals on Wheels has continued to deliver nutritious meals and much more for its clients – regular social engagement, a chance for a good chat, and a gentle eye kept on clients’ welfare.
The significance of this support during a period of enforced isolation for many Queenslanders cannot be overstated, a point I stressed in a message of support to the organisation in May.
I am reminded of the striking image on the Meals on Wheels website of hearts spreading across Queensland.
The map seeks only to show where Meals on Wheels operates, but it also serves to represent the care and reassurance that Meals on Wheels spreads across the State every day.
As Patron and Governor, I wholeheartedly thank everyone involved with this uplifting organisation – Board, staff, and thousands of marvellous volunteers – for their outstanding contribution to the well-being of so many Queenslanders.