'Such an achievement to keep working': Lough Meals on Wheels continues to serve community throughout pandemic

'Such an achievement to keep working': Lough Meals on Wheels continues to serve community throughout pandemic

Group pictured at the Lough Meals on Wheels service at the Lough Community Centre, Cork, (front from left) Cathy O'Halloran, volunteer driver; Diane Jefferies, head chef; Una Conway, kitchen assistant; (back from left) Dylan O'Leary, kitchen assistant; Tracy Wallace, administrator; Tony O'Neill, committee and volunteer driver, and Carol O'Donovan, volunteer driver.

THE Lough Meals on Wheels team has provided an invaluable service in their local community since they were established in 1965.

They have continued to provide for the most vulnerable members of society during the pandemic as they distribute over 70 meals throughout the week. Lough Meals on Wheels possess a very strong and community-driven team.

They are currently one of the largest and oldest Meals on Wheels providers in Cork city. They continue to remain a focal and vital point of contact within their local community.

The Lough Meals on Wheels team, which is run from the Greenmount Community Centre, is made up of volunteers and CE scheme workers. They also have volunteer drivers who kindly give up their time to distribute meals to their clients who avail of their beautifully prepared and substantial meals.

Their clients are generally elderly people or people who have just come out of hospital and can’t cook for themselves. They distribute their meals for €4 to a large catchment area between the Western Road, Douglas Road, Greenmount, Ballyphehane, Turner’s Cross and Capwell.

Rose Hudson, who has been the chairperson of the Lough Meals on Wheels committee since 2010, paid tribute to their fantastic team for their commitment throughout the pandemic. 

“It has been such an achievement for those working in the kitchen and for all the volunteers to keep working so hard through the whole pandemic.

“Their commitment is so admirable. We have two employees who work part-time in the fully fitted kitchen and we have three CE workers. 

We have a really strong team. We also have four members on the committee. We are glad to provide such a vital service for people,” she said.

The chairperson said that since the outset of Covid-19, they have changed their delivery schedule for safety purposes and to ensure they are fully compliant with public health guidelines.

“We do over 70 meals six days a week. We used to deliver and call to homes six days a week. However, since restrictions started we now deliver every second day on a Monday, a Wednesday, and a Friday. We now double up the meals.”

Ms Hudson said their members provide more than regular meals. They carry out small DIY tasks when needed, while their regular presence also provides an important source of comfort in peoples’ lives.

“It is great to help out in the community. We have some people who don’t see many people and they might have little jobs that need doing such as setting their watch or pulling up a curtain. If we can help at all, we will.

“It is great to help people. It is a lifeline for so many people as it means they can stay in their own homes.

“They know they are getting a regular meal. We also give them fresh fruit which is important and healthy.

“They really enjoy a bit of company and seeing faces on a regular basis. It is nice to do something worthwhile,” she added.

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