NEW Government Covid-19 restrictions on socialising has ensured that a Newmarket-on-Fergus community initiative is extremely busy delivering up to 186 meals daily to vulnerable people in South Clare, Ennis and Shannon.
Donations of goods and services like diesel from local businesses are still being offered to Obair’s Meals on Wheels service as their delivery of meals ramps up during the current public health emergency.
Obair’s Youth and Community Development Officer Siobhán O’Driscoll says they have about 50 volunteers who are on their books and takes about ten of them to complete daily deliveries on a rota basis.
Ms O’Driscoll said they have received huge support from local businesses who have donated hand sanitisers , gloves and other supplies while the HSE are providing personal protective equipment to ensure their volunteers are not at risk of infection.
She confirmed that Dromoland Castle general manager, Mark Nolan has offered his team of chefs as a back up if something unexpected happens to their volunteer cooks during the pandemic.
Vulnerable elderly people who are living on their own or who are cocooning during Covid-19 restrictions are provided with a hot meal and a choice or soup or dessert as well as a quarter of a loaf of homemade bread.
While most of the deliveries are made from Monday to Friday, recipients get two extra cold meals on Friday to ensure they can heat up a nutritious dinner on Saturday and Sunday.
The South Clare delivery run takes in places like Newmarket-on-Fergus, Bunratty, Cratloe, Sixmilebridge, Kilmurry, Quin, Doora and Clarecastle.
There is usually a separate run to cover the two large urban areas in Shannon and Ennis.
Obair manager, Orla Meehan said the phone hasn’t stopped ringing with people looking for assistance for clients, particularly since the new restrictions.
This vital service received a huge boost recently when the HSE Mid-West allocated a capital grant of €100,000 to upgrade the kitchen in the refurbished premises known previously as The Traderee Arms following representations from Deputy Joe Carey.
Deputy Carey, who has volunteered as a driver, said Obair is providing a great service to people and predicted this funding would facilitate the production of 300 meals from the new kitchen daily.