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Wondai Volunteers Say Farewell

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Former Wondai Meals On Wheels volunteers Val and Roy Hine, from the Glasshouse Mountains, returned to Wondai especially for the afternoon ... Val was a volunteer from the start while Roy began after he retired; the couple left Wondai in 1997

September 22, 2017

After 34 years of looking after the local community – and serving 135,000 meals – the Wondai Meals On Wheels committee has handed the reins over to SBcare in Kingaroy.

SBcare is already co-ordinating Meals On Wheels services in Kingaroy, Nanango, Blackbutt, Yarraman and Proston.

An afternoon tea to thank Wondai Meals On Wheels volunteers for all their faithful service over the years was held on Thursday at the Wondai Diggers Club.

About 40 volunteers and former volunteers joined SBcare staff and dignitaries for the get-together.

Former Wondai Mayor – and Meals On Wheels volunteer – Percy Iszlaub joked that the afternoon was the “last supper”.

“It has been a great journey for this committee, our strongest and largest (in Wondai),” he said.

South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell, the former president of the Kingaroy Meals On Wheels committee, also commented on the statistic of 135,000 meals served: “I wonder how many hours went into the preparation of meals and the delivery of the meals?”

Meals On Wheels Regional Support Officer Deb Dennien congratulated the Wondai volunteers on another successful year of preparing and delivering meals.

She thanked the Wondai Meals On Wheels committee and volunteers for all their work over the years, but also praised them for handing over the reins to SBcare.

“Paid employees (at SBcare) can do all the paperwork that we don’t want to force our volunteers to do,” she said.

* * *

Wondai Meals On Wheels treasurer Michelle Smith is relaxing now after 34 years of keeping the books ... she is pictured with grandchildren Amy, 7, and Cooper Jochheim, from Tannum Sands

Wondai Meals On Wheels treasurer Michelle Smith, who has been with the committee since the start, shared some history as well as thanks in her speech at the afternoon tea:

On August 18, 1982, a meeting was called to gauge if there was enough interest in starting a Meals On Wheels service in Wondai. On September 12, 1983, our first meals were delivered to 16 clients.

In the 34 years since we started, Wondai Meals On Wheels has delivered around 135,000 meals.

So here we are 34 tears later and we are still delivering meals, but under another name.

I would like to thank the Wondai Shire Council and later the South Burnett Regional Council for their support.

Alan Keates along with Percy Iszlaub and those on Council at that time, helped us get the service up and running.

We also need to thank the Wondai Lions Club who invested in us to help with the initial equipment supplied.

The late Billie Freeman and Gwen Wardill were also very much involved in the initial formation of the service to get it up and running.  We wish to thank very much those two ladies for their efforts.

Over the years we have had some very good every-day cooks. Marion Wilkinson, June Jones, Marcia Clark, Avon Stumer, Malcolm Bird, Carol Horsnell, Kahlia, Robyn Zelinski and Elaine Moore have really helped our Wondai residents live in their own homes for much longer than thought possible because of the lovely nutritious meals they provided.

We have also had some understudy cooks and we thank you to them also for the days they had to jump in and provide meals.

To the volunteers who have delivered the meals for 34 years in rail, hail or shine with a smile on their face: to you we cannot say thank you enough.

Wondai is a very friendly, volunteering town. On the roster, we had around 70 names of people who cooked, washed up, drove their cars or delivered meals.

We would also like to thank the local businesses who have supplied the ingredients to cook these meals. We have had people who donated vegies from their crops when they could. Tomatoes, pumpkins, eggs, other vegetables or fruit were always welcome.

On the executive side, we would like to say thank you to Debbie Dennien, our support officer, who has helped us with all the red tape that has evolved over the years.

We have transferred quite a substantial amount of money over to SBcare, so in the near future, we hope to see the outcome of that donation, with a new vehicle being purchased.

We wish SBcare all the very best going forward and trust meals will be delivered to Wondai for many years into the future.

To those who are still delivering, thank you from the bottom of my heart, for carrying on this invaluable service to our community and I trust it carries on for many more years.”

- Michelle Smith

SBcare Centre Program Manager Jenny Gemmell with Meals On Wheels Regional Support Officer Deb Dennien

Prim Laurentiussen, Theresa Jensen, Jenny Gemmell and Louise Mason, from SBcare which has taken over the Wondai Meals On Wheels clients

Deb Dennien was presented with flowers by retiring Wondai MOW president Marion Barnes

Former Wondai Mayor and MOW volunteer Percy Iszlaub with his sister Norma

Cr Ros Heit, South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell and Wondai Meals On Wheels volunteer Mavis Charles


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