Coffs Order of Australia recipient Narelle Milton.
Coffs Order of Australia recipient Narelle Milton. Coffs Coast Advocate

Narelle gets a gong for work at soup kitchen

“IT'S a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

Those simple but resounding words where how Order of Australia medal recipient Narelle Milton explained her tireless efforts at the Uniting Care Soup Place.

Narelle, known affectionately by her customers as 'Mum', has been feeding hungry mouths at the Uniting Care Soup Place for more than 11 years.

“It's a reason to get out of bed in the morning, there for the grace of God go I,” Narelle said.

Monday to Friday every week, Narelle cooks soup and makes sandwiches for those less fortunate across the coast - and has seen many people come and go.

“I make the soup myself - last year we worked out that we made more than 10,000 meals and made between 2500 and 3000 litres of soup,” Narelle said.

“It varies each day but there was a time when it would be nothing to make 100 sandwiches in a day, I think with the current economic situation we could end up back at that stage,” she said.

When she found out she was to receive the award, she said she wasn't quite sure how to take it.

“I was shocked, embarrassed, and wondering whether I really deserved the award or not,” Narelle said.

“But then I realised someone had been kind enough to nominate me, and that I should accept it not just for me, but for everyone who does such a great job here in the kitchen.”

“I get to say to my children now, “Guess what - Mum's got letters after her name - and she didn't even go to uni!'.”

  • Sandy Beach woman Shirley Caba was also honoured with an Order of Australia medal, although unfortunately was unable to be contacted by the Coffs Coast Advocate yesterday.

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