The New Zealand Government has deemed Meals on Wheels an essential service. This means that New Zealand Red Cross will continue the service to ensure the people who we support are cared for, with some important adjustments to the way deliveries are made to ensure the safety of both volunteers and the people they are delivering to.

“We know that people may be feeling particularly isolated at this time,” says Shaun Greaves, General Manager Humanitarian Development.  “That’s why our volunteers may check-in with meal recipients, if they feel safe and comfortable to do so. We are asking though, that they keep a minimum distance of 2-metres and must not enter the house at any point.”

All volunteers will follow Ministry of Health guidelines on handwashing, not touching their face before washing their hands and physical distancing. Volunteers will make sure the person they are dropping a meal off to knows it has arrived and leave it at their doorstep.

Because people who are immunocompromised or over 70 will not be volunteering during this period, New Zealand Red Cross is working to fill any gaps in this service.

All volunteers go through a stringent check for the safety and security of the people who are being helped. New Zealand Red Cross is assessing which gaps can be filled internally through our existing pool of volunteers. New Zealand Red Cross is grateful for the support of our partners and other agencies who’ve offered to help fill gaps with their own volunteers who are already Police or Ministry of Justice checked.

“We know that Kiwis are eager to help their communities right now,” adds Greaves. “We’re grateful to the many Kiwis who have reached out to help and are working hard now to identify any remaining volunteering gaps that we might be able to ask local communities to help fill.”

For interviews or more information:

Jessica Timings, New Zealand Red Cross Communications Advisor

+6427 270 7319 ; jess.timings@redcross.org.nz