Delivering lots of hard work and memories
JAN and Ken Hutson didn't go into Meals on Wheels service to win awards.
But last Thursday, she and her husband Ken were named Most Dedicated Volunteers at a luncheon at Monto Hospital, intended to honour Monto Meals Delivery Service volunteers who have devoted their time and energy to helping out seniors in the community.
"I objected, I refused a lot of nominations for things until someone said to me you're wrong, because even if you don't want the glory, it brings to the fore the organisation and the work they do,” she said.
Every volunteer received an appreciation certificate; the Hutsons were named Most Dedicated, while Hazel Schultz was named Volunteer of the Year and Dawn Dowling received an award for Longest Service.
When Jan started as a volunteer in 1986, she'd been working as a school tuckshop volunteer despite living on a property 70km out of town.
In that time, she'd turned the weekly volunteering into an excuse to shop in town, so decided to make the switch to Meals on Wheels once her son left school.
In those days, Meals on Wheels volunteers cooked their own food; living on a farm meant they had the means to do it.
"There was virtually very little food that was bought except for meat,” Jan said.
There were also no recyclable or throw-away containers; everything was washed and reused.
Ken Hutson got involved much later when they came off the land in 2001.
Living in town has made the run easier. The volunteers take either the "hospital side” or the "town side”, get their meals at the hospital and visit each house in turn.
"It's beautiful going to people's houses to say hello and they like seeing you as well,” Hazel said.
The hospital luncheon also bid farewell to Fay and Bert Brown, who retired from Meals on Wheels earlier in the year.
The Meals on Wheels monthly roster is getting thinner, with Monto ExcelCare regularly filling spots on the schedule.
The Hutsons said they gave their vote to Hazel because her name was often on the roster.
Despite that, none of the winning volunteers have plans of quitting any time soon.
"We're looking at just going as far as we can,” Jan said.
"But here's hoping someone does take over,” Fay said.