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It’s a sunny Monday morning as David and Gloria Williams drive through New Plymouth, the smell of hot food wafting through their car.
It’s almost lunchtime, but the food loaded in the front seat isn’t for them. The Williams’ are two of Red Cross’ 3,300 Meals on Wheels drivers who deliver hot lunches to people in need around New Zealand.
Red Cross members, including the Williams, deliver 17,000 meals in Taranaki every year. The service helps older people and those who might struggle to cook for themselves stay healthy by delivering a daily hot meal to their door.
David and Gloria, who have been married for 58 years, were looking for a way to help out in their community and decided to try Meals on Wheels. They’ve now been volunteering for a decade and deliver meals every Monday.
“We really enjoy it,” Gloria says. “It’s very good for us to be doing it. We go home and we realise that we must make the most of our mobility and use our time to make the most of these years while we can.”
After 10 years on the job, the couple now knows most of the people along their Fitzroy route and take time for a chat when they stop in with the meals. They also check to make sure everyone is healthy and safe.
“We check on people and you notice if things are not normal,” Gloria explains. “When you get to know them, you get to know what they like. One size doesn’t fit all.”
The husband and wife team enjoys being involved in Meals on Wheels and finds they get a lot out of the volunteer service as well.
“We definitely feel like we’re doing something useful,” David says.
How to help
Red Cross delivers Meals on Wheels in communities across New Zealand. If you would like to deliver Meals on Wheels in your area, register your interest here.