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Boost for meals on wheels

A financial boost from South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] is helping Martinborough eldercare facility Wharekaka keep its meals on wheels service going.

SWDC voted unanimously to allow Wharekaka to repurpose a $6,000 grant made last year, to help fund the service. Meals on wheels has been helping the elderly in South Wairarapa since 1974.

Wharekaka was forced to close its rest home facility and relocate its 13 residents last month. The shock decision was made when a covid-related shortage of nurses meant staffing levels could not be maintained. However, at the time the Wharekaka board said they remained committed to assisting the community’s elderly, including providing the meals.

Wharekaka trust board chair Joy Cooper attended the SWDC meeting to motivate that the grant be repurposed.

“We have managed to maintain our meals on wheels service. It’s a bit of a leap of faith on the part of the trust board because there is a gap between the cost of the meals and the cost of delivering them,” she said.

Each recipient received a hot main course, with meat or fish and three vegetables. About 40 meals a day were delivered in Greytown, Martinborough and Featherston.

“We are asking council if they could approve that we draw down the grant to support our meals on wheels service,” she said.

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Councillor Fox described the service as ‘fantastic’.

“It’s really important that it’s an established service,” she said.

Councillor Olds also supported the application.

“The benefits are flowing across our community in Featherston and we have a team of local volunteers who do the distribution,” he said.
Councillor Colenso agreed.

“The immediate need for meals on wheels within our community is great. It starts with the independent living units they have, because many of those people get meals on wheels, as well as many in the wider community.”

The sentiments were echoed by many other councillors and the motion passed unanimously.

A Wharekaka spokesperson posted about the service on its Facebook page.

“We’re delighted to announce that Wharekaka’s Meals on Wheels service has continued uninterrupted. Our wonderful cook, Maddie, will be staying on to create wholesome meals for those who need them in Martinborough, Featherston and Greytown,” they said.

“The Wharekaka auxiliary has taken on responsibility for meal delivery and organised rosters that include existing members, some new volunteer drivers, and some who used to deliver prior to the covid outbreak.

The spokesperson said although South Wairarapa individuals and businesses had made contributions, there continued to be a financial shortfall for the service and fundraising would continue.
People wanting to help can email [email protected] or [email protected] or send a message through Facebook messenger.

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