WHEN it comes to helping others in the community, there is one team of volunteers who really make a meal of things.

Meal Makers is an initiative that signs up volunteer cooks who are willing to prepare dinner for older people who could do with a helping hand.

Anyone over the age 55 can phone up and register.

The vetted cook and their diner are then introduced, if they don’t already know each other, and they then discuss the best dishes to prepare before the tasty meals are served up.

A team from Meal Makers paid a visit to The Market Place, in Barrhead, to raise awareness of the project – and were delighted with the response.

The organisation is a subsidiary of Food Train – a voluntary service that delivers fresh produce and groceries to anyone who has difficulty fending for themselves.

Lisa Anderson, development officer at Meal Makers, told the Barrhead News: “The event at The Market Place was organised to raise awareness of our volunteering opportunities and inform local people of the new services available to them.

“We wanted to make ourselves available in a central hub of East Renfrewshire so that anyone who was looking to find out a little more information could pop along and ask any questions they had.”

Food Train, which was first launched in Dumfries and Galloway 25 years ago, now operates all over Scotland.

The Barrhead branch is looking to recruit volunteers who visit older people or call to collect their shopping lists. There is also a need for volunteer shoppers, who are asked to head to the supermarket to pick the items, as well as volunteer drivers who can deliver the food.

Meal Makers, meanwhile, is keen to recruit volunteer cooks.

“Both parties benefit greatly from Meal Makers,” said Lisa. “Even though it’s the older adults who get a home-cooked meal, our volunteers enjoy the experience just as much.

“Meals are prepared in the volunteer’s kitchen and we would only ever ask the volunteer to prepare an extra portion of the meal that they are already preparing for their own family.

“Often, it’s a small portion that would be left at the bottom of the pot and perhaps bunged in the freezer or into the bin otherwise.”

Anyone who would like to volunteer their services or knows someone who may benefit from the service can visit www.mealmakers.org.uk to find out more.

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