Alone but not neglected - and looking forward to a feast
TENDER Loving Cuisine (TLC) is a home delivery food service that gives elderly and disabled people a chance to have a feast at Christmas time. More than 4000 dinners are cooked and packed each week in the TLC factory in Marrickville. Over Christmas this number increases.
The founder and CEO of TLC, Jack Barker, 65, said that many of his customers "struggled" to cook a traditional festive meal. "Most seniors see no point in cooking a roast dinner for one," he said. "We just want to take away the worry of their having to prepare the main meal of the day, especially at Christmas, when things are much more busy."
Mr Barker founded the organization 10 years ago after a close friend suffered brain damage in a car accident. Helped by the Royal North Shore Hospital, Mr Barker organised his friend's meals while he was recovering. It was then that he realized the need for a home delivery service for outpatients, the elderly and the disadvantaged. In 1995, he started up Tender Loving Cuisine. Jennifer Bishop, who has been a driver with TLC for three years, visits up to 20 houses a day in Parramatta. She says she loves the interaction that comes with the job. "The customers love to have a chat," Mrs Bishop said. "Most are widows or older single women. I feel as though I'm helping in some small way."
Margaret Malins, 94, of Epping, is a regular who recently had a fall and a stroke. "I was told I would have to into retirement," she said, " and that the only way I could stay at home was to have my meals delivered."
Mrs Bishop says the most popular Christmas meals are roast beef, lamb, pork and chicken. "The menu caters for all diets including gluten-free, high-energy protein and diabetic safe foods," she said.
Copyright, Parramatta Sun