Volunteers know the secret to a long life and there is more to it than a healthy diet

The Benevolent Society volunteers deliver more than home-style meals; they also bring companionship and comfort to our senior community members and people living with disability.

It is very hard to believe that Chris Robinson, who volunteers at the Northern Beaches Food Service, is actually called a retiree as he has such a busy weekday schedule. This service is run by The Benevolent Society.

I have been volunteering for The Benevolent Society five days a week for nearly four years, before that I was doing Meals on Wheels in Western Australia for five years,' Chris told us. 'I enjoy giving something back, meeting fellow volunteers and making sure that the clients I see are OK.'

The Northern Beaches Food Service is based in Warriewood and covers the former Warringah and Pittwater. 'With 310 clients in total, volunteers are always needed,' said The Benevolent Society’s Deputy Manager, Suzi Pawley. 'We are very flexible, so there’s no minimum commitment for our dedicated volunteers. They can do five days a week, or once a month. Volunteers meet up for a coffee and a chat on a regular basis, so it’s very social.' 

'The Benevolent Society Meals on Wheels service sends out on average 1500 meals each week to 310 clients who are currently using the service,' she added.

Clients can choose from a range of home-style nutritious meals, including petite meals, sandwiches and frozen meals. The Northern Beaches Food Service also provides transport for clients who are at risk of social isolation. There are two weekly lunches at different venues, affordably priced with morning tea, wine or juice, and coffee. There are also monthly outings to different parts of Sydney and the Blue Mountains. These are invaluable services for clients who otherwise might not get out, as they meet new friends and keep their minds active by experiencing new events. It goes to show that The Benevolent Society’s Northern Beaches Food Service is more than just a meal delivery service; it provides vital contact for otherwise isolated local residents who live at home. So much so that The Benevolent Society is also developing another program specifically designed to tackle social isolation.

'The idea is that a Benevolent Society volunteer will be matched with a client for lunch and a chat in their home,' said Suzi. 'This way we can spot early signs of ill health or social isolation as well as the volunteer just being a friend to talk to.'

The Benevolent Society is always looking for volunteers. You know what they say, People who volunteer are happier and they live longer. But, hey, you don’t need to tell Chris Robinson that as he has definitely discovered the secret of a more youthful and fulfilling life. Yes, volunteering!