Australia: Meals on Wheels surviving on bequests from deceased clients as funding stagnates: volunteer - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaMeals on Wheels surviving on bequests from deceased clients as funding stagnates: volunteer

00:25  12 july  2019
00:25  12 july  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Via WIlls/ Bequests . Donor Privacy Policy Meals on Wheels San Diego County does not sell or distribute donor information in any way. You can be assured your information is secured and protected at all times and only used by this agency in processing your donation and supplying you with Meals

Being a Meals on Wheels volunteer can help make the difference between a homebound senior who chooses to age in place, and one who has no choice. Let’s Do Lunch volunteers can be individuals or groups from a workplace who deliver meals at least once a month on a consistent day of the week.

Meals on Wheels surviving on bequests from deceased clients as funding stagnates: volunteer© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Volunteer Bruce Kafer says the organisation is under stress due to a lack of funding. (ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

Volunteers for charity Meals on Wheels say the service is under threat with branches surviving on bequests as the Federal Government fails to increase funding for the service.

Triennial government grants provided to the organisation have not increased in more than a decade and, without more financial support, volunteers fear the vital service will not exist into the future.

"We're at a stage now where we are actually, financially, going backward," said Bruce Kafer, who volunteers at a branch in the New South Wales Illawarra region.

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Meals on Wheels received 50 times the typical amount of daily donations on Thursday after the White House proposed cuts to some of the program's sources of funding , a spokesperson for the group said.

Fund a Senior. Via WIlls/ Bequests . Volunteer . A client may receive meals on a short-term basis (such as when recovering from illness or surgery), or indefinitely. Donor Privacy Policy Meals on Wheels San Diego County does not sell or distribute donor information in any way.

"Quite a generous bequest has enabled us to sustain a local operation but we're at a point where that is running out.

"The cost of maintaining these organisations is growing and we are lobbying federal members to help us, but at the same time there is an expectation we can support ourselves."

Charity won't be able to survive

In New South Wales, fundraising and government grants totalled $1.2 million at June 30, 2018.

"There's no question that the level of funding being provided by government to Meals on Wheels is inadequate to enable them to meet the needs of the communities in which they operate," the CEO of Meals on Wheels NSW, Les MacDonald, said.

"Government simply doesn't realise just how cheaply it gets these services from 30,000 volunteers we have around New South Wales."

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About Volunteering About Meals on Wheels About The Clients . Most local Meals on Wheels programs have the need for volunteers to fill a number of roles that can be The Older Americans Act pays for approximately one third of Meals on Wheels funding , while local communities and private

Meals on Wheels is a program that delivers meals to individuals at home who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals . The name is often used generically to refer to home-delivered meals programs, not all of which are actually named " Meals on Wheels ".

Mr MacDonald said the organisation faced a bleak future if the charity's financial circumstances did not improve.

"I would hope and am working towards none of our services going out of business, but if the situation doesn't change then that could well be an outcome," he said.

The Government's Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) currently funds 584 organisations to provide meals.

"Of these, 200 are identified 'Meals on Wheels' organisations and receive an annual total of more than $28 million," a spokesperson for the Department of Health said.

"All CHSP providers receive annual indexation increases."

Life-changing service

Mr Kafer said it would be an incredible loss if the charity was forced to fold after more than 60 years helping the elderly and people with disabilities.

"The conversations and discussions and contact we have with people in some cases might be the only contact they have with people in the course of a week," Mr Kafer said.

"What Meals on Wheels does is it actually helps the health system and the aged care system by keeping elderly folk and people with a disability out of those systems.

"It improves their quality of life and enhances their independence, allowing them to stay at home for longer."

According to the organisation's latest annual report the charity served 14.8 million meals to more than 53,000 senior Australians.

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