Why would someone who has just had a major heart attack, and by-pass surgery, want to offer their time to deliver meals to others? Why would someone agree to clock up 250 kilometres a day, in their own vehicle, running meals from house to house? And why would someone who has spent their entire lives teaching schoolchildren want to serve the elderly?
Brian Banwell, who almost died after suffering a major heart attack late last year, reckons delivering is helping his recovery.
"One of my clients in North Gosford is in her mid-eighties and totally blind and we have others who are in their mid-nineties. To be able to help someone less fortunate is great for my rehab." Banwell said he was initially attracted to the meal delivery service Tender Loving Cuisine (TLC) because he wanted to do something for others. "My wife (Pam) and I wanted to give something back to the community. This seemed like a really good way to spend our day." Now the pair spend each Friday delivering the Heart Foundation Tick approved meals on the Central Coast, clocking up around 250 kilometres in the process. "We have 23 clients on our run from Buff Point down to Ettalong Beach and Umina. It keeps us pretty busy."
Since retiring as State Manager for a Queensland envelope manufacturing firm, Brian has lived at Chain Valley Bay near Lake Macquarie. They saw an ad in the newspaper for drivers for Tender Loving Cuisine and contacted the organisation's CEO Jack Barker. "We started as gap fillers and only took over the full Central Coast run last September," said Brian. "Pam is the director of operations. I'm the meal packer and driver. "But it's not a simple matter of delivering the meals and leaving them on the doorstep. We always take them in and make sure the client is happy." "Pam has even put eye drops in one client?s eyes and helped pick the clothing for our blind client. We are always up for a chat with our clients, simply because they are such lovely people."
Kathleen Kinchington was the first delivery driver for TLC and has been delivering meals to the aged in Sydney for the past nine years. As such she has built up a special rapport with her clients. "I get more out of it then I put into it," Mrs. Kinchington said. "Twice a week I get to visit with my friends."
The average age of her friends is 80 with the oldest 101 and according to Mrs. Kinchington as "bright as a button". Over the years Mrs. Kinchington has done more than just deliver meals to her clients. "I reckon I've posted a million letters. These people can't get out to do things and some letters just can't wait for relatives to show up. I've also mopped floors and put meals in the microwave for them. It's all part of the TLC service."
Kathleen also puts in the kilometres in her own car to deliver the snap frozen meals. "I do the run from Penrith to Wahroonga on the North Shore. I did 230 kilometres one Thursday which wasn't bad."
Betty Rooney is a retired former school teacher who gives her time to deliver meals to the elderly of the Eastern Suburbs. Her sister Anne Ryan is Betty's partner on her delivery run which takes the pair through the Eastern Suburbs and occasionally to the Lower North Shore.
"We really enjoy the contact we have with these people. There is a very great need for this service among the elderly," said Betty, 67. "A lot of them live alone and don't have people come over. They look forward to our deliveries, not just for the meals. We don't just put the food on the doorstep, we go in and put it in the freezer for them. In the process we share about our families and help them where we can. I've mailed letters and even taken the garbage down. They share personal things with us too."
For the pair delivery day begins at 7am and can finished around 2pm. There can be as many 30 deliveries to be made in the day.
Anne, now 63, was a Catholic School principal at South Strathfield clocking up a teaching career of 25 years. Both Anne and her sister decided to help Tender Loving Cuisine after reading an advertisement in the newspaper. "We were both looking for something to do after retirement and liked the idea of giving something back to the community."
It is the hands on service which sets Tender Loving Cuisine apart from other meal delivery organisations. TLC was born in 1995 when a close friend of CEO Jack Barker had a car accident causing serious brain damage. To help out Barker arranged meals for the family during his recovery. The professors at Royal North Shore Hospital realised that this was a service that many people needed, and so an agreement was made with NSW Health.
Today health professionals in most hospitals and government agencies utilise the TLC service by referring clients that want a tasty meal service alternative to assist their recovery.
For further information contact:
Tender Loving Cuisine
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