WITH 28 years under her belt, Lyn Mitchell is the second longest serving volunteer at Meals on Wheels Queanbeyan.
Inspired by her mother, Mrs Mitchell signed up to Meals on Wheels and now she is retired she also helps out at the local hospice four times a week.
‘‘My mum used to do Meals on Wheels in Sydney. She told me a story about when she was once delivering meals and the elevator in the high rise building had broken down. She had to climb 22 flights of stairs to deliver that meal,’’ Mrs Mitchell said.
‘‘I thought if she can do that in her 60s, I can do Meals on Wheels too.’’
Mrs Mitchell is joined each month by a friend and together they navigate the local streets.
‘‘I do the driving and my partner gives me instructions ‘left here, right there’, I’m not terribly good at directions,’’ she said.
The 72-year-old gets a lot of satisfaction from her volunteering; she said it keeps her feeling young and active. ‘‘For many, many people they have very few visitors or family. When Meals on Wheels come, it’s the highlight of their day,’’ she said.
‘‘I needed to feel needed, I was a nurse so I think it is part of your psyche. The day I am of no use to anyone I want to be out, six feet under.’’
The Meals on Wheels service is only possible with the help of volunteers and businesses like Frozen Foods Distributors, Metro Petroleum and Woolworths who help with donations.
The service is available to senior citizens, those recuperating from operations or suffering from debilitating illnesses. It is also available to people who may be unable to cook for themselves or go grocery shopping.
Meals on Wheels deliver frozen meals weekly, cooked and chilled meals daily and provide a centre-based lunch every Wednesday at the Hack Centre. The meals include soups, sandwiches, roasts, chicken schnitzel, crumbier fish, cottage pie, lasagne and Moroccan beef.
There are about 100 clients in the Palerang region and Mrs Mitchell is one of 70 volunteers who help cover areas like Queanbeyan, Jerrabomberra, Oaks Estate, Ridge, Burra and Sutton.
‘‘It’s amazing how many people you need to cover the need [out there],’’ she said. ‘‘Everyone is so busy living a chaotic type of existence ... but it’s so little time. Twenty eight years of one hour a month doesn’t amount to very much.’’
To find out more about the Meals on Wheels service or to volunteer, call 6299 3000.