Julie Barker, chair of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO), recently spent a day delivering Meals on Wheels to elderly and vulnerable people in West Sussex.
Barker showed her support for the struggling community service, which has seen a rapid decline in recent years, according to figures from the Malnutrition Task Force.
The visit was organised by the local county council as part of an ongoing awareness campaign by the National Association of Care Catering (NACC).
Barker said: "We all feel very passionately about the role that Meals on Wheels has in helping and supporting the elderly and vulnerable in enabling them to continue enjoying living independently at home.
"In many cases this is the only hot meal an individual will eat each day. It helps keep people nourished and hydrated and importantly, also contributes to reducing costly malnutrition-related admissions to hospital."
She added: "Meals on Wheels is, however, so much more than just a meal. For many it is a social lifeline that eases the isolation and loneliness many elderly in our society endure. The delivery of a meal brings regular human contact, which for many may be the only interaction with other people they have the opportunity to enjoy."
John Figgins, the council's catering services manager, said "We would like to make our residents aware that Meals on Wheels in West Sussex is very much open for business. The council is working in partnership with Apetito to deliver the service, currently delivering around 3,000 meals a week to residents."
The NACC has launched a petition calling for the Meals on Wheels service to be statutory protected and has so far received almost 1,600 signatures.
It requires 100,000 signatures for the topic to be considered for debate in Parliament. Click here to sign the petition.
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