DEDICATED: Meals on Wheels volunteers Allan Owen, Ian Nisbet, Graham List and Dick Horder.
DEDICATED: Meals on Wheels volunteers Allan Owen, Ian Nisbet, Graham List and Dick Horder. Cordell Richardson

'Rowdy' blokes making a difference at Meals on Wheels

MEALS on Wheels is a hive of activity at morning tea as volunteers race around the kitchen packing food for many of the organisation's 217 clients.

At a small table in the middle of the bustling facility are four self-confessed "rowdy" blokes who are helping make a difference.

Allan Owen, Ian Nisbet, Graham List and Dick Horder work at the facility each Tuesday.

They reject the 1950s, Menzies-era notion that women are best left alone in the kitchen.

While the majority of Ipswich's Meals on Wheels staff are female, the males are happy to volunteer.

"You do it to give back to the community," Mr List said.

"I think it's a retirement thing because while you're working you can't do it," Mr Owen added.

Meals on Wheels manager Jane White said it was wonderful to have the men involved.

"Once upon a time, volunteering was not considered something men did," she said.

"I'm going to have to increase the size of the men's table with all we're getting in."

The retirees enjoy meeting each week to laugh together and solve world problems.

"We do get roused on because we're too noisy," Mr Owen laughed.

Their annual pay isn't much, but it's enough to keep them coming back.

"It's a big feed," Mr List said.

The men get a kick out of delivering meals.

"I enjoy talking to the people because a lot of the people we see don't have any contact," Mr Horder said.

"Some of these people are lonely and they bounce up when they see you and it provides 10 minutes of happiness," Mr List added.

While the men are dedicated, they know the women work harder and earlier than them.

"The women start work at 5.30am now. That's not on unless someone is giving you a few bob," Mr List said.

The men sleep in before a 10.30am start.

Mrs White said Meals on Wheels clients enjoy the facility's new menu choice.

If you can volunteer, please phone 32814465.



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