Youngsters help with Meals on Wheels
MEET Mundubbera Hospital's youngest Meals on Wheels volunteers: they can't yet drive, but they find other ways to pitch in to deliver the vital service.
Alysa Cowburn, 11, and brother Markuss, 12, are home schooled.
As part of their education they accompany parents Allan and Marissa, who are pastors at Mundubbera's New Life Centre, in volunteering in the community.
Mrs Cowburn says service is an important part of her children's learning.
"It's good for the kids to be involved,” she said.
"It's important to have a heart for the community.”
Markuss says he absorbs lots from the experience, like a sense of "hospitality” and learning how other people think.
Markuss and Alysa have been involved with the Meals on Wheels program for about three years alongside their pastor parents and also help out at the LifeCare food pantry, run under the auspices of the centre.
Alysa has a slightly different set of priorities.
"You get your school work done in the morning and then you get to play, that's how I roll,” she said.
The siblings are among around 40 volunteers who help deliver Mundubbera Hospital's Meals on Wheels and patient transport services.
They were all acknowledged at the today's annual "volunteer appreciation morning tea”, where director of nursing Jan-Adele Hotz praised them for their "essential” work.
"I don't think I've ever worked in a community that's so close-knit,” she said.
David Leng, who has driven patients to appointments in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay for about five years, says he feels volunteering is the "appropriate” thing to do.
Involved in service clubs such as Lions, Rotary and Apex since graduating university, Mr Leng says his work with the hospital is simply an extension of that.
Meanwhile, Norma Hastings, who has volunteered for 25 years and now co-ordinates the roster, says it makes her proud to know she has made a difference.
"I knew what the needs were in the community,” she said.