Kevin has popped round just before noon to drop off Betty’s hot lunch. Betty is one of our Meals on Wheels recipients – she’s unable to cook for herself so receives a hot meal delivered by a Red Cross volunteer and provided by the local District Health Board (DHB).

“I first started receiving Meals on Wheels in November 2006. I’ve had surgery on my hand, so I can’t do much. It’s difficult to lift things, and I also can’t drive, I didn’t pass my eye test!” says Betty.

A health care worker helps Betty around the house in the morning too, but it wasn’t easy for Betty to adjust to receiving help. 

“When you're used to be very independent, it’s very hard to accept help,” Betty acknowledges. “I used to be quite active.”

For many people like Betty, New Zealand Red Cross’ Meals on Wheels volunteers bring more than a hot lunch to her doorstep, they bring company too.

“It can be quite lonely during the day. I’ve lost a lot of friends in the last two years, so I don’t see a lot of people," explains Betty. "The volunteers are good people – they’re of great help. You get used to them.”

New Zealand Red Cross Meals on Wheels driver, Kevin Whitney, delivering a meal to Betty Wilson.

With the visit of volunteers almost every day of the week, Betty and thousands of people like her around the country receive much needed regular social contact. For volunteer drivers, that’s a key part of the job.

“It’s more than just delivering a meal, it’s checking up on people. When you deliver the meals, you also check on people and make sure things are going well for them. Some people I meet may not see anyone else all day,” says Kevin.

“Volunteers also talk to me about how they’re doing. There’s something about me that gets people to open up and talk to me,” says Betty with a beautiful smile.

Get involved!

Our Meals on Wheels service helps people like Betty all around New Zealand who are living at home by providing them with a healthy meal every day. New Zealand Red Cross volunteers deliver around 620,000 hot meals a year across Aotearoa – that's nearly 12,000 every week.

Join our team of friendly drivers deliver meals in your neighbourhood. As a Meals on Wheels driver, you’ll need to be available on weekdays at around lunchtime, for a minimum of 1-2 hours every two weeks, and have your own vehicle.