Recipe For A Happier, Healthier Community

HEART OF THE COMMUNITY… The Meals on Wheels staff at their annual Christmas party for clients and volunteers. They are (L-R) Annika Gatt, Gill Kinsela, Jenny Field, Deborah Wren and Tash Butt.

Meals on Wheels is a familiar name in the Parkes Shire as the service has been at the heart of our communities for 56 years.

It is all about people in the community joining forces to help others. Whilst age and disability may reduce some people’s capacity to get out and about, this service help make it possible for them to stay in their homes, and maintain their independence.

The organisation has 250 volunteers who help deliver hot meals to 90 clients in Parkes, Peak Hill, Trundle and Tullamore, as well as frozen meals across the shire.

The hot and nutritious meals are made fresh every day at the Parkes Services Club, and delivered Monday to Friday to clients. There is also the option to get frozen meals every day and over weekends.

According to the Manager of Meals on Wheels, Gill Kinsela, the service is not just for the frail aged and disabled, but for the whole community to keep people in their own homes longer with good nutrition and well-being.

About two years ago Meals on Wheels further extended its service to the community by starting a new initiative called Second Bite. Donated bread, fruit and vegetables from Coles are being made available to anyone in the community on weekdays from 12 to 1:30pm.

With funding extended until 2022, Meals on Wheels will be happy to welcome more volunteers. One hour a week or a month is all that it takes. Pay their new and very accessible office at 39 Currajong a visit, or call them on 6862 6189. No matter what you can offer, every bit of help adds up to a happier, healthier community.


Ian Phipps: Volunteer

Ian was convinced by his wife Dawn to become a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels nine years ago. They are part of a network of 250 volunteers who help to distribute meals to about 90 clients across the Parkes Shire. “I do the driving and Dawn does the delivery. She is good at talking to people,” said Ian.

Ian and Dawn help out once a month to deliver meals to nine clients. “You build up a good relationship with the clients over time, and even make good friends.” Ian says he just enjoys being a volunteer, and hopes a volunteer will one day bring meals to him.

“Meals on Wheels play a pretty big role in our community, especially in the lives of older people. They do not have busy lives any more and really look forward to their meals. It is great for them to have something to look forward to and not to worry about making the food.”

Parkes is one of only four services left in NSW to offer hot meals to clients. Ian said he would recommend to anyone to become a volunteer. “It only takes one hour out of your day.”


Deb Wren: Client Support Officer

Deb joined Meals on Wheels more than four years ago as a staff member and has since taken on the responsibility of looking after the clients and volunteers.

One of the highlights of her job is listening to clients’ stories. “They are all fantastic characters.”

She also enjoys doing all the organising, and being part of the team. It gives her a lot of satisfaction working for such an essential service in the community looking after the elderly and disabled, especially in a regional area where the service is vital.

“Visiting a client is so important as you are often the only person they would see that day. They all become your friends and it generates a lot of caring.”

As for the volunteers, Deb feels the work gives them a sense of self as they are helping the community. “Parkes has one of the best turnouts of volunteers in NSW.”

The best part for her is seeing the smiles on the volunteers’ faces. “They are always so happy… and they get as many smiles from clients as they give.”


Bob Fernando: Volunteer

Bob joined more than eight years ago as a volunteer when he had time on his hands. “I like being productive, and they say volunteers live longer! I also enjoy passing on my kind spirit.”

For him it is not only about delivering a meal, which breaks the boredom of the day for many of the clients, but it is also about socialising. “I always try and crack a joke or two and you end up making friends.”

Bob fills in as driver whenever he is need- ed, and also helps out at Second Bite twice a week. Instead of throwing their food out, Coles donates bread, fruit and vegetables on a daily basis and every weekday from 12 to 1:30pm anyone in the community can visit Second Bite to help themselves to what- ever they need. “We get about 14 people who come in every day of all ages. The food is still in a very good condition.”

Bob ensures nothing is wasted. All the leftover food at the end of the week is donated again to owners of animals. “The food goes to horses, pigs, chickens and even a donkey.”




Celebrating Life In The Midst Of Losses And Challenges

JOY, PEACE AND HOPE… Get into the Christmas spirit in Cooke Park this Sunday from 6:30pm for the very popular family event of Carols in the Park. See the full program on the back page.

Almost 30 years ago, when our region was gripped by a terrible drought, it was decided that we need to find a way to come together and celebrate life even in the midst of sorrow.

On behalf of Parkes Ministers Association, Sister Eileen Quade and team had the genius idea of bringing the churches, the schools and the community together to sing Christmas carols.

The songs and message of Christmas bring us a special hope, joy and peace like no other, that does not depend on our circumstances.

“Joy to the World”, published 300 years ago, remains an all-time favourite song because it fills our hearts with joy and enduring hope.

“Silent Night” is renowned for conveying a supernatural peace. Each carol, whether new or traditional, has a special story and impact on us.

It is the message of Christmas that brings the churches together in a powerful and unified way. Unto us the Son is born. Jesus is God with us, identifying with all our needs. As we personally put our trust in him, he gives us a brand new quality of life: abundant and eternal.

We greatly value the work of each of our school choirs and music teachers who, in the midst of the busiest time of the year, labour diligently to bring the best out of our children and youth. All local schools are bringing to us a song of celebration this year!

In the midst of this prolonged season of loss and trial, we deeply appreciate the so many organisations who have generously pitched in to provide help, encouragement and hope.

Carols in the Park continues to be a celebration of community and life!

By Rev Andrew Taggart
(President, Parkes Ministers Association)

Lessons From Shanghai

GREAT OPPORTUNITY… TAFE NSW students and Parkes Shire Council employees Jaimee Timmins, Logan Hignett and Kelly Hendry went to China last month on a program to enhance their industry skills and knowledge.

Three local TAFE NSW students were selected for an extraordinary opportunity to travel from Parkes to a world city with a population larger than the whole of Australia and gain unprecedented access to some of its largest global enterprises and businesses.

Jaimee Timmins, Logan Hignett and Kelly Hendry were selected from 30 applicants for a 16-day trip to Shanghai, China’s biggest city, as part of the Outbound Mobility Program giving rural and remote students the opportunity to travel abroad to enhance their industry skills and knowledge.

Jaimee, Logan and Kelly, who are also Parkes Shire Council employees, have come back with bags full of experiences, but also fresh ideas for their workplace. In Shanghai they met with industry business leaders at Wujiang Government, the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, Renji Hospital, AustCham Shanghai and BlueScope Corporate. They also visited the world-famous China International Import Expo and Disneyland.

“It was a massive learning curve for me,” said Jaimee who also experienced her very first trip overseas. “It was amazing to see how structured and orderly everything is run in such a huge city. I gained insight into their way of life and how good their communication is for instance at the hospital where they deal with lots of international doctors.”

Coming back to Council she’s learned to think outside the square and that there’s always room for improvement.

Kelly was very impressed with the city’s long-term vision and planning and how that leads to amazing infrastructure and a well- planned city.

She also enjoyed the group they travelled with. “We worked well together, formed strong networks, and cemented what we’ve learned in our Diploma in Leadership and Management.”

Logan, a civil engineer who moved from the Orange Council shortly before the trip, said he found his first visit to an Asian country a culture shock, “but I grew as a person because of it”. He was particularly impressed with business innovation initiatives with rewards to encourage staff members to come forward with ideas. “I found that really interesting as it helps to increase efficiency and encourages people to want to do better and try out new things. This is something we could look at here at Council.”

He said he found it hard to bring back civil engineering ideas as they were years ahead being a mega city. “There are a lot of customer service ideas though that we could look at in the future as the acceptance of technology with younger generations come through, like the paying of rates at 24/7 kiosks.”

The TAFE group attending a traditional Chinese tea ceremony in Shanghai.

Kelly said she brought back the importance of long-term vision and planning, and doing trade with China and dealing with Chinese culture. “As Parkes grows and progresses with the Special Activation Precinct, it will be important to get things right when it comes to international development projects.”

The experience of seeing a city with such rapid growth in a short time frame where there is a lot of cement, made Jaimee, Logan and Kelly appreciate the open space, blue skies and birds again back home.

They agreed it was a great opportunity that opened many doors they would never have been able to do visiting Shanghai as individuals.

By Maggi Barnard