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The Start of Meals on Wheels SA

May 20, 2011

Where others may have succumbed to their injuries, Doris used her experiences to better the lives of others.

Doris was only seven years old when she was injured in a fall from a ladder. The injury caused her to limp quite badly but there was much worse to follow four years later when she sustained another crippling injury. This time damaging her spine and paralysing her for the rest of her life.

She spent much of the next five years in hospitals. Her reaction to the realisation that she would never walk again gave perhaps the first clear sign of the iron will and character that she was to exhibit throughout her life.

Although the doctors had decided there was nothing more they could do for her, Doris rejected the suggestion that she should spend the rest of her life in the Home for Incurables (later renamed the Julia Farr Centre).

She was soon starting to look for ways to become a useful member of society. Self pity, it seems, did not enter her mind.

During the Depression Doris organised a soup kitchen for school children at Norwood and the experience gave her an awareness of poverty and hardship.

During the war she underwent an unsuccessful operation intended to enable her to walk again. After it, however, she did recover the ability to do certain things such as feed herself.

After the war as Public Relations Officer for the South Australian division of the Australian Pensioners League she campaigned vigorously for a better deal for the aged and infirm.

She was appalled by the discovery that some had been sent to the Parkside Mental Hospital, not because they were mentally ill but because there was no other place for them. She urged governments to provide more homes for aged people and, as a further means of keeping them out of institutional care, envisaged a scheme whereby local volunteers would give them a nourishing daily meal.

So was born in 1953 the concept of Meals on Wheels SA.

[Source: A Meal a Day… by Michael Cudmore]

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