One of the top volunteers in the Hastings is Gil Lewis from Wauchope who works for Meals on Wheels, despite being in her 70s.
Gil has spent 35 years with the organisation and she still loves it, and has no notion of retiring yet.
She was brought up in Dorrigo, and then the family moved to Wauchope when she was a teenager. She worked for Hastings Motors and Hornsby Saw Mill office – both long gone – until she got married in 1963.
She and her husband Leo, who passed away in 2014, were married for 50 years and had five children, four sons and daughter, but tragically, they lost two of their sons.
One little boy, Stephen died of leukaemia at three years of age. Our other son was a truckie and he died on the road.
Gil says she was a stay-at-home mum, and began volunteering from the time her eldest child started school, doing voluntary work in the school canteen and the P&C.
When Wauchope decided to have Meals on Wheels, they contacted all the women’s groups to ask them for volunteers to deliver the meals.
At that stage, it was just Monday to Friday. Most groups supplied more than enough meals.
“It worked well. As time went by, we never lost volunteers to deliver meals, but there were more and more retired people to deliver them to,” says Gil.
“Meals on Wheels progressed over the years to what it is today. We used to get a hot midday meal from the hospital kitchen. Now it’s mostly frozen meals.
“I just hope it continues for when I might need it,” she smiled.
“The older people are pleased to see us. My family moved away to Wollongong and delivering Meals On Wheels was a chance to catch up with some of my parents’ friends,” adds Gil.
As well as providing healthy, tasty food, Gil says Meals on Wheels is a social thing for people who are confined to their homes.
And Gil says she still gets the same joy out of helping people as she did all those years ago.