Director's Report
Dear Friends
Warm greetings to you.

It has been a highlight of my life to serve as National Director of what I consider to be nothing short of a miracle.

There has never been a time when I have not considered our huge budget with wonder and, in moments of weakness, with some little feeling of apprehension. The thought of how many people are depending on this service of mercy sometimes plays upon the weaker side of my character, yet year after year, public response has allayed my fears and filled me with no small measure of wonder. I have seen overwhelming kindness in action, and I wish to express my deepfelt gratitude to all who have contributed in any way to this most vital service.

The Ten-Millionth Milestone

First of all, I would like to offer special congratulations to all of our supporters – for you have made it possible for Meals on Wheels for the Aged to reach a service level of over eleven million meals per annum. If we were to line up 11 million plates of food, side by side, they would stretch for all of 7,000 kilometers. That is some monument to your kindness.

New Branches

In recent times we have opened a number of Meals on Wheels branches in various centers, but the need for new branches is almost endless. Special thanks to all who have contributed equipment and vehicles. Your kindness is much appreciated and will bear fruit for many years to come.

New Challenges

Things have been changing fast in South Africa and we are sad to report that for the first time in our 50 years of existence we find ourselves extremely pressured by the demand that is being placed on this service.

Frequent cases of neglect, elder abuse and outright cruelty have made the news in recent years. As a direct result of this negative publicity, more and more of the aged and the aging population are making desperate efforts to ensure that they are able to live out their sunset years in the community. Most of these dear folk see Meals on Wheels For The Aged as a vital component in their future plans. Undoubtedly this is one of the many factors that is going to put tremendous pressure on the Meals on Wheels service in years to come.

Need for Wheels

At this time we are in need of no less than forty new delivery vehicles in South Africa. In some areas it will be noticed that the branches are switching from the traditional little white panel van to the cheaper and more economical hatchback type vehicle from which the back seats have been removed – but even these smaller vehicles are becoming more costly.

If any of our supporters have a windfall over the next few years, and you aren’t quite sure what to do with your windfall, you could always sponsor a new or a second hand Meals on Wheels delivery vehicle. For corporate sponsors this could constitute an excellent means of advertising as the words “Sponsored by . . .,” would be boldly sign-written on the back and sides of the sponsored vehicle.

Most of the Meals on Wheels voluntary helpers are female and for them a vehicle breakdown can be rather unsettling – especially in these times. Yet we must say that it is almost uncanny how a good Samaritan always turns up at just the right time – either to help to repair a fault, or to tow the vehicle to the nearest garage. Our special thanks to these good friends for being at the right place at the right time.

If it moves, we’ll use it.

Adapting to Needs

With things as they are in our fair country today we find that the needs of the elderly are becoming more diversified than ever before and, as a result, we are finding it necessary to continually adapt our service to these varied needs.

Thanks to various influences, man is becoming less and less social in his nature and, as a result, people are no longer visiting as they used to – a situation that impacts tragically upon the elderly, most of whom thrive on visits from family, friends and even from strangers. In response to this sad fact, we have long been working on various ways and means of making the visits of our “hoppers” more meaningful and more relevant.

Rest assured, therefore, that by sponsoring the meals that are being delivered to the struggling elderly, you are providing for far more than just their dietary needs . . .

Positive Attitudes

Yes, things are a lot more challenging than they were a few years ago, but we believe that trials only make us stronger and that they only inspire us to try harder. Throughout the ranks of our voluntary helpers there is a wonderful spirit of determination and enthusiasm – a spirit that we believe is but a reflection of the caring hearts of our loyal supporters.

In all honesty, we could only ever justify negative thoughts about the future by finding some way to forget how you have supported this vital service in the past.

We do realize that your support today might demand somewhat more self-sacrifice than it might have done in years gone by, and this is why we feel that ‘thanks’ is just not enough. If we could invent a whole new vocabulary of words that more adequately express our gratitude, we would use every one of them. We really do appreciate you and your determination to hold on to the shaky hands of our elderly friends. They love you, even if they have never met you.

We wish you excellent health and every success.

Yours sincerely
Drina Engelbrecht