Anna and Emily a hit among volunteers

VOLUNTEERS: Emily Gardner and Anna Gibson get ready to deliver meals around Dubbo on Thursday morning. Photo: ELOUISE HAWKEY

VOLUNTEERS: Emily Gardner and Anna Gibson get ready to deliver meals around Dubbo on Thursday morning. Photo: ELOUISE HAWKEY

Anna Gibson and Emily Gardner have quickly become known for their infectious personalities and warm smiles within the Meals on Wheels community.

The 23-year-old Dubbo residents have each volunteered with the community service organisation for several years, delivering meals to people unable to cater for themselves.

Each Thursday the duo designates time out of their day to deliver the ready-made meals and have a chat with the recipients.

Anna, assisted by family-friend Sharron Crosby, said being organised, kind and putting on a happy face is an important part of her role.

She said her favourite part of volunteering with Meals on Wheels is reading the menus, deliver the hot meals and spend time with Sharron.

“I have to be careful handling them,” she said.

She also enjoys meeting clients’ pets.

“They always like me and always lick my hands,” she laughed.

Sharron said the clients get a lot of joy from spending time with Anna.

MEALS ON WHEELS: Anna Gibson and Emily Gardner of Dubbo have each been volunteers with Meals on Wheels Dubbo for around three years and were interviewed this week as part of National Volunteer Week. Both girls take pride in their work and are adored by clients. Photo: ELOUISE HAWKEY

MEALS ON WHEELS: Anna Gibson and Emily Gardner of Dubbo have each been volunteers with Meals on Wheels Dubbo for around three years and were interviewed this week as part of National Volunteer Week. Both girls take pride in their work and are adored by clients. Photo: ELOUISE HAWKEY

“They welcome her into their home,” she said. “You can see it progress from just handing meals over at the door, to taking it all the way in to the table.

“We even check the mail for some people.”

Emily also takes great pride in her role as a volunteer with Meals on Wheels – a position she shares with her personal assistant Janelle Lewis.

On Thursdays Emily takes the reins in navigating the pair around the delivery route which can sometimes involve up to 13 people in a day.

Emily is known to be a real people person who enjoys long chats with her clients, according to Janelle.

“Emily asks about their photos and who is in them – if she had it her way we’d be there all day!” Janelle laughed.

The visit is wrapped- up with “have a lovely day” and a big smile before Emily and Janelle head off to their next destination.

Emily’s mum, Cassie, said volunteering with Meals on Wheels has been very beneficial to Emily.

“Meals on Wheels is very gentle and kind, and Em gets a whole lot of satisfaction out of talking with the elderly and they really appreciate her,” Cassie said.

“She glows because of that.”

Anna and Emily agreed that volunteering brings a sense of happiness to everyone involved, and it is for that reason they encourage others to volunteer.

Seeing the girls lifts our clients' spirits...if they're away we get phone calls asking where they were. - Tash May

“You’ll feel happy, it’s a fun thing to do,” Anna said.

Meals on Wheels Dubbo liaison officer, Tash May, said the girls’ attitude is contagious to everyone around them. 

“They lift the clients’ spirits just by seeing the girls and having a bit of a chat,” she said.

“Particularly on Thursdays people know it’s Emily and Anna, and if they are away we get phone calls asking where they were.

“We at Meals on Wheels appreciate the girls coming on Thursdays with Sharron and Janelle.

“They bring a smile to the office when they walk through the door, so it helps us too as staff.” 

National Volunteer Week runs between May 8 to 14 and is designed to acknowledge the generous contribution they make to the community.

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