Red Cross volunteers like Allan and Mary deliver more than 80,000 meals in Hawke’s Bay every year. The service provides healthy meals to people who, because of their age, a disability or medical condition, need a little extra help to live independently. For recipients, who often live alone, it’s also a chance for a friendly chat.

Allan and Mary know almost all of the Meals on Wheels routes around Hastings. They’ve been volunteering for nine years now and reckon they get just as much out of the service as the people they deliver meals to.

“People get a nice hot meal and someone who smiles and says ‘how are you?’ but it’s not all about giving. We get a whole lot out of it too,” Allan says. “You always feel better at the end of the run than when you started.”

“Sometimes we’re the only people they see all day,” Mary adds. “Some become close friends and we miss them if we don’t see them.”

During school holidays, Mary and Allan are often joined by their teenage grandson Ben. He’s been helping the pair since he was seven and now knows the routes almost as well as his grandparents.

“We will stop at a house and Ben says ‘I remember them’. He’s lovely with older people,” Mary says.

When they’re not delivering meals, Allan and Mary can be found on a different set of wheels – their bikes. The two enjoy cycling and often complete a 25km trail before their lunchtime deliveries.

Meals on Wheels

Our Meals on Wheels service helps people all around New Zealand who are living at home by providing them with a healthy meal every day.

Meals on Wheels is one of our longest standing and most recognised community activities – and one that is much appreciated by its recipients. More than just a carrier of hot meals, we deliver independence to many elderly and disabled people and those recovering from illness or hospital treatment.

But perhaps most importantly, the service provides much needed regular social contact for the Meals on Wheels recipients.

Find out more about the programme and how you can get involved.