Disability Services Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk and State Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt shared afternoon tea today with Meals on Wheels volunteers in Babinda.

Meals on Wheels started from a backyard shed in nearby Ipswich outside of Brisbane delivering meals to just eight people.

Today, more than half a century later, the team of hardworking volunteers delivers about 50,000 meals to frail, aged and younger people with a disability throughout Australia everyday.

Ms Palaszczuk said through the Home and Community Care initiative the Rudd and Bligh Governments provided more than $168,300 to subsidise meals from service providers in Innisfail, Babinda and Cairns.

“During these tough economic times we have had to make difficult decisions to ensure funding continues to important services like Meals on Wheels,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“However, without the volunteers we would have nothing to support, so I encourage anyone who wants to give back to their community and our older Queenslanders to put their hand up and help out this outstanding organisation.”

Ms Palaszczuk and Federal Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot recently announced $5.2 million in joint funding from the Federal and State Governments to continue support for the work of Meals on Wheels volunteers in Queensland.

Mr Pitt said more than 70,000 meals were delivered in Cairns region every year by six service providers.

“Meals on Wheels caters for the people in our community who need our support most – it delivers healthy and nutritious meals to their doorstep everyday,” Mr Pitt said.

“Babinda District Meals on Wheels are a dedicated team and I’m glad the Minister could find time to visit them and pass on the community’s gratitude for the hard work they do.

“Volunteers are the life blood of Meals on Wheels, without them it would not be possible to maintain this vital service to so many Queenslanders and Australians.”

Ms Palaszczuk said each day Meals on Wheels delivered 10,000 healthy, balanced meals to Queenslanders who are frail, aged or who have a disability each day.

“The $5.2 million subsidises 147 Meals on Wheels service providers across Queensland,” she said.

“Each year Meals on Wheels delivers around 2.2 million meals to older people in Queensland helping them remain independent and in their own homes and communities.”