For 48 years the Rotary Club of Drogheda has been providing meals for the elderly and incapacitated around Drogheda. Rotarians, volunteer drivers, clerks and cooks all pull together to make this a tremendous good news story. It takes a huge effort from everyone involved to achieve such a resounding success.
Karl Allen president of Drogheda Rotary Club said, “ Rotary in Drogheda is very proud of this service to the town. We continue to follow our motto of “Service over Self”.”
This years’ success has been tarnished by the untimely death of Ger de Loughry. Ger coordinated all the different functions of the service for 15 years. He undertook this role seriously, efficiently and with zeal. It was a tremendous shock to Drogheda Rotary Club and the whole community when he passed away suddenly in September 2018. His role has been take over by Michael McCormick who will continue with Ger’s work.
The coordination of resources and effort to complete this job has been undertaken by the Rotary Club Drogheda and it is a huge contribution to the fabric of Drogheda.
The Meals on Wheels service is undertaken three days a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The primary objective is to provide hot nutritious meals to the elderly and incapacitated in Drogheda. In terms of community involvement, the introduction of our Meals on Wheels service and its ability to sustain it over the period remains the Drogheda Rotary club’s greatest and proudest achievement.
“This service has enabled people to remain in their homes and in the community, rather than having to go into nursing homes. We get wonderful feed back from families who are so grateful for the service and know their elderly parents or relatives are getting a nutritious hot meal”, commented Michael McCormick.
For the purposes of Meals on Wheels the town of Drogheda is divided into four routes. Therefore 4 drivers are need each day the meals are delivered. The drivers are rostered every 4 weeks. A minimum of 48 drivers is required. Also there is a roster for administrators/clerks who keep track of the monies received. Sixteen clerks are required to perform these duties. All in all there are at least 64 people involved in the provision of Meals on Wheels.
Drogheda Homeless Aid prepare the meals to the highest HSE standards and the HSE performs regular inspections. Food temperatures are recorded before, during and at the last delivery to ensure compliance and meals are hot for the service users. Malachy Clarke is the liaison person in Drogheda Homeless Aid and he deals with issues that may arise about people having hospital appointment and may be absent on a particular day.
Currently there are 44 meals delivered to people in Drogheda each day of the service. This figure can fluctuate as required. Recipients make a contribution of €10 for a full service and this contributes to the cost of running Meal on Wheels. Expenses to provide the Meal on Wheels in 2018 exceeded €32,000.
Rotary Club Drogheda has a management group of ten people who keep the service on the road. The management team meet every second month and review how the service is performing.
All the drivers are Garda Vetted. The folks they deliver the meals to are always happy to see a familiar face. There are pleasantries exchanged and the weather is always commented upon. Some people were legend over the years. There can be great tales told of trying to find houses for the first time. Thank goodness for google maps and Eircode. Technology meets Meals On Wheels in 2018.
The drivers express great satisfaction when they return with their route completed. The routes are changing constantly with new people coming on to the scheme and sadly some people move on to full time care or indeed sometimes pass away.
Drogheda Rotary Club is looking forward to celebrating 50 years of service to Drogheda in 2020.
My wife and I are 78 and 79.
Fully mobile. If we are advised to stay home on account of the virus can we apply for meals .
That’s an interesting question. The service is for the old and incapable. Exposure to Covid 19 is new. We wouldn’t have the resources to cope with the numbers. We are fully employed. New applicants are on a waiting list. The new circumstances are going to put additional stress on the service as some of the volunteer drivers are already excusing themselves because they may be in the “ at risk” section. I think we are in a wait and see situation. Continuing the service is our priority at the moment.
Sorry I cannot be more helpful.