40 years of making meals
By JULIA ILES
ISOLATION and hunger are banished on a daily basis when friendly Meals on Wheels volunteers pop around to elderly people's homes throughout the Valley.
"Sometimes we are the only people who see them each day and they often like to have a chat," Grafton Meals on Wheels president Alan Brisbane said.
Yesterday the Grafton branch celebrated 40 years of service in the area.
"It's just incredible how much things have changed now we have our own vehicles, permanent drivers and mobile phones ? there was nothing like that when it started," 83-year-old Stella O'Donohue, an original member, said.
Beryl Power was also a volunteer from the start and like Stella has only recently retired.
"You really get a lot out of visiting people and sometimes you are the only person they talk to," she said.
More than 60 people packed out the anniversary gathering, which included speeches, cake and a sumptuous morning tea.
The committee also honoured volunteers who had worked at Grafton Meals on Wheels since its inception.
Every week around 2000 people use the service, which is based at Westward Park in Bacon Street.
Currently they have six paid staff consisting mostly of part-time employees, while the rest are dedicated volunteers.
"We run menus of six weekly rotations and it is so big now without the volunteers it couldn't exist, they really do a great job," Rhonda Raven, manager of Meals on Wheels, said.