During the week Brighton dad and chef, Matt Roberts, is up at 3.30am and at work by 4am to prepare for the busy morning ahead.
By about 8am, the rest of his team join him for a quick breakfast, a few laughs and a chat before they launch into a morning of preparing around 300 meal packs for Sandgate’s Meals on Wheels.
Other than his kitchen assistant, Matt’s team consists of anywhere between eight to 12 people, who are all volunteers. While Matt cooks all the fresh, home cooked-style meals, the volunteers will help pack, tray and prepare the meals that will then be delivered by a driver and an aide to clients around the district.
“ I do all the cooking,” Matt said. “To me the food is very personal, I put a lot of love into the meals. We don’t have a whole team of people cooking, it’s the same person cooking the meals all the time to ensure quality, freshness and consistency.
“I know a lot of the volunteers that come in; they are residents from around the district, so that makes for a friendly working environment. We always have a few laughs in the kitchen and it’s a happy environment.”
But to run smoothly, the operation requires a team of more than 80 volunteers to ensure hot meals, cold meals and frozen meals are delivered promptly to residents in Brighton, Deagon, Shorncliffe and Sandgate areas.
Now into its 54th year, demand for Sandgate’s Meals on Wheels is just as strong as it’s ever been. But the service is in desperate need of more volunteers to lend a hand.
A spokesperson for Meals on Wheels said they were particularly short of drivers and aides to deliver the meals to clients.
“Ideally for the operation to run smoothly we need a team of about 40 people to help out, just for the kitchen during the week. Usually there are about eight or more volunteers per day in the kitchen plus another 10 drivers daily. With sickness and people taking holidays, the need to keep the number of volunteers up is important,” the spokesperson said.
If you are interested in becoming a Meals on Wheels volunteer, please contact the organisation on ph. 3269 2073. The office is open between 6am and midday, Monday to Friday and is located at 149 Rainbow Street Sandgate.