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Governor-General delivers meals for national Meals on Wheels Day

Norma Steele got a surprise last week when she answered her door on her 91st birthday to be greeted by the Governor-General.

To celebrate Meals on Wheels Day, which was coincidently Ms. Steele's birthday, the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove met with Red Cross volunteers in Canberra, and then made deliveries with volunteer John Stephens.

Mr. Stephens said he really enjoyed seeing the Governor-General experience the service first-hand.

"It's very rewarding to meet with the clients. The social connection really lifts their spirits, and mine."

Client Dorothy Ross said she is very grateful for the volunteers. "They're always very cheerful and happy to be doing what they're doing."

Last year alone, 167 Red Cross volunteers delivered over 100,000 meals to almost 800 clients in the ACT. We also provide the service in Tasmania. Learn more »

Across the country, the Meals on Wheels service is supported by 75,000 volunteers who each day ensure that 37,000 people get nourishing meals and a regular check on their safety and well being.

Australian Meals on Wheels Association President Nelson Mathews said that volunteers don't just prepare and deliver meals.

"They also provide important social contact to people who may be isolated and lonely, and monitor the physical and psychological wellbeing of those most vulnerable."

Isolation has the same impact on health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or consuming six standard drinks a day. The health benefits of having a meal delivered by a caring volunteer goes beyond simple nutrition.

You don't have to be the Governor-General to brighten someone's day. You can volunteer to help older people who live alone, and make a big difference in someone's life.