Happy to peel a spud or two

Gus Barbaresco, 77, stirs up the atmosphere at the Sawtell and District Meals on Wheels two days of every week
Gus Barbaresco, 77, stirs up the atmosphere at the Sawtell and District Meals on Wheels two days of every week

GUS Barbaresco peels 180 kilograms of potatoes, 50 kilos of pumpkin and 20 kilos of onion two days of every week.

He gets paid nothing for his efforts and, as far as he's concerned, he wouldn't have it any other way.

Gus is much admired by those who know him, and most probably by others who have never had the pleasure.

Like 150 others in our community, Gus is a volunteer with the Sawtell and District Meals on Wheels organisation.

"Volunteering gives me something to do and I just love doing it," Gus said.

Aged '77 plus', Gus said he likes meeting new people and, even though he has been involved with this program for 11 years, he has no plans to stop any time soon.

"I was a volunteer in Coffs Harbour for three years and for the past eight I have been volunteering in Sawtell," he said.

Sawtell and District Meals on Wheels opened in 1990 and for 10 years Christine Capararo has been working at the organisation.

Meals from the small kitchen in Sawtell are delivered throughout the local area, as well as across to Boambee and down to the end of Bonville.

But the dedication doesn't stop there. Hot meals are also supplied to Coffs Harbour, while frozen meals are prepared and delivered to Bellingen, Urunga and Dorrigo.

Almost 12 months ago the kitchen even supplied meals to Macksville before it received its own service.

"When I first started we operated out of a small office out the back and we did just 35 meals a day," Christine said.

Now the tiny kitchen and its staff supply 200 meals a day to the Coffs Coast and Christine said there were 120 volunteers involved in the project, including kitchen staff and drivers.

"Most people start volunteering here because they like to be with people," she said.

"This is why I started here. I loved dealing with people and most of the volunteers are retirees who want to give something back to the community.

The kitchen in Sawtell opens in the early hours, with some volunteers arriving at 6am to start food preparation.

The Meals on Wheels concept began back in 1959, delivering meals to the frail aged and also to younger people, and their carers, who have a disability.

Christine said everyone was welcome to be a volunteer at the Sawtell and District Meals on Wheels.

Telephone 6653 3298 if you would like more information about being involved in Sawtell Meals on Wheels.

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PICTURE PERFECT: Plant life is about to come alive in the dunes near the Jetty boardwalk with the public asked to observe exclusions.

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Graduate nurses and midwives

ALL IN BLUE: Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser and MNCLHD board chairman Warren Grimshaw meet some of the new graduates at the CHHC simulation centre.

COFFS Harbour Health Campus 32 graduate nurses and midwives

Need a break from the daily grind?

PRIZE HOLIDAY: A $1000 travel voucher is up for grabs.

Would a $1000 Flight Centre gift card help?

Local Partners