The sweet laughter and contagious personality of Val Harvey has filled the Port Pirie Meals on Wheels kitchen for 35 years this February.
Since 1983, Val has been waking up early to ensure the plates of her community are filled with delicious food and that no one goes hungry.
As the nominated sweets chef, Val ensures that those with sweet teeth receive their dessert, whether it be custard, fruit and jelly or even cheesecake; day in and day out, she has not let the community down.
Coming to a kitchen everyday, for four hours to make food that you will not even eat, may not sound like the icing on the cake to any person who cooks, but for Val, she could not go past it.
As she explains, she loves the value of volunteering and being able to provide her time to others, but she also appreciates the company and friends she has been surrounded by as the years have gone by.
“I just love coming in here will all these guys. There are a few of us here who have been working here for a good 25-30 years as a team and then we get other ones that come and go, but you just make great friendships out of it.”
“You are helping the community, but we like doing the meals, we like working together, it is a good vibe.”
“You don’t realise what it actually gives to you, just go for it. Once you get into it, you make other friends and meet other people and gives you a good feeling.”
Val demonstrates much of what Meals on Wheels is about, but she is also able to understand the importance of a consistent service in a regional community.
Sally Lee, a volunteer coordinator and a vice chairperson of the Port Pirie Meals on Wheels can vouch for Val’s hard work over the decades and says that she is hardworker and without her efforts, Meals on Wheels would be a very different place.
“Val and a lot of the volunteers have been here for 20-30 years and without the volunteers, we wouldn’t have a Meals on Wheels and Port Pirie clients would not be able to receive meals.”
As Val is busy catering to the 90-100 Port Pirie stomachs that require the service of Meals on Wheels, Sally has called out to anyone who can spare sometime to give the kitchen a call and become a volunteer.
“She is a hardworker and if you have been here for 35 years, you can understand where her dedication comes from.”Sally Lee
“If we don’t have volunteers we don’t serve clients and we need younger volunteers. Our volunteers are all getting to an age where they can’t cope or they get sick and we need those younger volunteers.”
“The best thing is volunteering and helping the community. You have friends and become friends with the people who volunteer.”
Each week, the kitchen requires 85 volunteers to help cook and deliver the food to those in Pirie who may forget to cook, be incapable of cooking, or just need a simple hand in the kitchen.
If you are interested in volunteering, be sure to give the kitchen a call in the mornings on 8632 1560.