Three Meals on Wheels volunteers recognised for long service

Three Meals on Wheels volunteers from the Barossa Valley and Kapunda branches will be recognised by the Governor of South Australia next week for more than 40 years of dedicated volunteering.

In the lead up to the Awardee Day event next week, November 15, our three local award recipients share some of their fondest memories over the years.

Glenys Siegele, who has volunteered at the Barossa Valley branch for 40 years said her volunteering started with a conversation at a party between "stay at home mums" who were canvassing options for community work. Thus began her first days with Meals on Wheels with Sue Mader as her partner.

Glenys had at that time a five year old who was at school, and Stephan (2) who would stay with nobody. So stephan he became a non optional add on, and the clients enjoyed his visits.

Over the years Glenys has taken both sons on delivery runs well into their teenage years, and now sometimes her granddaughter Charlotte goes with them. Glenys drafted several other volunteers over the years, and finally her husband Michael.

Glenys explained that the difficulty of managing portion size was a common worry in those days, and a few trips to buy food were made. The clients also expected small jobs to be done.

A trip to the shop wasn't uncommon and the round would continue when they returned. The odd household chore and posting letters was a common event.

So was missing clients, neighbourhood searches and the occasional "oops'' moment...

One particular incident occurred in the more recent years when delivering to a client in a block of units.

Glenys said she knocked and entered the unit Michael had stipulated, calling out "meals on wheels", only to be confronted by a naked female who calmly said, "that's for next door". Fortunately, Michael was behind her and unsighted as she retreated with profuse apologies.

Glenys has had a busy life, volunteering with school canteens and welfare committees and umpiring sport.

She was also drafted as a football coach because "she got bored sitting on the sidelines" on Saturday mornings, and asked if she could help.

So she was given a book with the basic rules of football and told, "see you Wednesday night". Glenys has also taught photography and drama one day a week on a voluntary basis at school.

Glenys said she has enjoyed her time with Meals on Wheels, and certainly has a collected a couple of interesting memories over the years.

Helen Ware (centre right) was recognised by her local Kapunda branch earlier this year for her 40 year milestone.

Helen Ware (centre right) was recognised by her local Kapunda branch earlier this year for her 40 year milestone.

Helen Ware, who has now volunteered at Kapunda for 40 years said her late mother-in-law, a long term Kapunda resident, was a Meals on Wheels deliverer and suggested that Helen do likewise.

At the time, Helen and her husband were in business and she did the bookwork at home in the evenings, her children had settled into school and she had some time on her hands.

Helen has been doing the regular Meals rostered run for 40 yearsnow, and enjoyed it all, including some days when called in to fill in for someone who was unable to attend to their duties for whatever reason.

Having lived in Kapunda for 52 of her 54 years of marriage, Helen has come to know a lot of families, and often enjoys having a quick chat to her customers about what their families are up to.

She finds it very satisfying to see the appreciation of customers when Meals on Wheels volunteers may be the only visitors they get most days.

Helen is very happy delivering to these people and hopes that, should she and her husband need the Meals delivery sometime in the future, someone will be there to supply this service.

When Helen first started doing meals they were cooked at the local convent kitchen, and Meals on Wheels operated there for many years, until the service went to the local hospital kitchen.

She has had a few different delivery partners over her many years, and her current one for over 20 years - they enjoy each other's company while delivering meals, then go out for lunch afterwards.

Helen tries to be a happy person with a community spirit, and most people who know her know that she loves to have a chat, and can often answer some of her customers questions, which are not necessarily meals related.

Major milestones in her life are being married to her husband Frank, who is also a dedicated volunteer with Rotary, high school foundation, and many years with the Kapunda show society. She coached netball when her children were in high school, and in general she tries to be involved in her community.

She only wishes to be remembered as a good living woman who tries to say good about people. Her personal motto would be "Treat everyone the way you yourself wish to be treated, or your elderly parents to be cared for".

Helen's late parents raised her with this ideal, that it is more important to be kind, to give and not necessarily receive - to be happy with her life, and her wonderful family, including 6 grandchildren.

Judith Liersch said her Barossa ValleyMeals on Wheels (MoW) experience actually began 47 years ago. Judy had 2 years off between 2009 to 2011 for health related issues, but fortunately returned to Meals on Wheels.

Judy's husband Jeff was working at the Tanunda Lutheran Home at the time the decision was made to commence food deliveries in the Barossa. Judy was "dobbed in" to drive for the first week along with Sister Schiller and Eileen Schulz. Judy's four-year-old daughter was an extra helper on these trips an the clients loved this.

Judy has had four MoW partners in that time, the first for 15 years being a non driver at a time when hot meal deliveries routinely went as far as Ebenezer, Stockwell and Moculta.

This meant long delivery runs on some rough roads to hard-to-find places, winding their way through vineyards, and along back tracks, often having to deal with not very welcoming dogs when they arrived. Several deliveries were made to caravans.

This was of course at a time when the meals had to be apportioned carefully so as not to run out, as it would have been a long way back to the chicken shop.... Fortunately this only happened twice in that era.

The upside to their Leyland Brothers adventures was the time spent with clients, having a chat with them while they served their meal. This meant a lot to the clients, as for some it was the only visit for the week. Judy feels that with the arrival of the pre-packed meal, there is very little time spent with the client, and a few more minutes would be appreciated.

Judy has also been a volunteer for her church and for various schools over this time, all whilst managing a property and four children.

Judy has found her 45 years with MoW to be a very enjoyable and rewarding time. She has delivered with her husband Jeff for the last 8 years... I guess he was finally "dobbed in".