Hospice needs a couple more helping hands
ENID Camilleri and Perry Rawlins have been cooking up meals, friendship and ways to communicate for about nine years.
The pair volunteer each Thursday in the kitchen at Toowoomba Hospice and thoroughly enjoy their work, each other's company and helping others.
They quickly overcame the slight hurdle of Perry's deafness.
"Perry signs and can lip read and, if that fails, we write notes to each other," said Enid, who has worked in the kitchen now for 14 years and was Perry's mentor from the start.
As well as both loving to cook, Enid said she really enjoys the relationship with the clients and their families, who are always so appreciative of everything done for them.
Perry just loves the friendly environment and being able to help others.
The community-based hospice, which gives terminally ill patients a home-like environment in their final days, currently needs more kitchen volunteers, as well as help housekeeping and in fundraising.
When asked what they would say to other prospective volunteers, the ladies said simply, "just pick up the phone".
"The work isn't difficult and it gives you a sense of community helping others," Enid said.
Volunteer co-ordinator Sharene Gosley said the hospice had three kitchen shifts a day: breakfast 7.30am-9am, lunch 10.30am-1pm and dinner 4.30-7pm.
Each shift involves taking meal orders, preparing meals for up to six clients and delivering them, cooking meals for freezing, and cleaning up.
The hospice is lucky to have a few volunteers with disabilities helping out, including one person in a wheelchair, so Sharene urged people not to hesitate.
"Perry's great - she often helps clean up after functions, and when she's in the kitchen she won't let anyone else do the washing up.
"She just about wrestles our coffee cups out of our hands to wash them for us," she laughed.
Other possible volunteer roles include flower arranging, gardening, pastoral care, reception and courier.
"Generally when potential volunteers come to an orientation session, we talk about all the different volunteer roles we have," Sharene said.
"People often come with a particular job in mind but it does depend on what our needs are at the time - we can't have everyone wanting to mow the lawn and no-one cooking meals!"
You'll get all the training you need before starting out and be paired up with a buddy.
With 117 volunteers on the books, you would think all the roles would be filled, but Sharene said people often weren't available due to other demands, family, travel or illness.
So if you can help, call 4659 8500 or go to www.toowoombahospice.org.au.
That's also where you'll find the hospice's fundraising events, with notable upcoming date-claimers being the jazz breakfast on October 29, Melbourne Cup lunch at Café Valetta on November 7, wine tour on November 11 and carols on November 26, as well as Toowoomba's annual Christmas Wonderland from December 2-24.