Ron a treasure on Meals on Wheels Day

MORE THAN A MEAL: Meals on Wheels volunteer Ron Lidman chatting to Bette McCardle during a delivery in Holroyd on August 26. Picture: Anna Warr.

MORE THAN A MEAL: Meals on Wheels volunteer Ron Lidman chatting to Bette McCardle during a delivery in Holroyd on August 26. Picture: Anna Warr.

Since his retirement in 2012 from a large multinational company, Ron Lidman has dedicated his days to the frail and aged people of Holroyd.

For three years, the Guildford resident has volunteered on most weekdays for Holroyd Community Food Services to deliver catered food to elderly Meals on Wheels clients.

It’s the best job I’ve ever had. It’s great to be able to go to bed at night, put your head on the pillow and say, “I’ve done something good today that people actually appreciate”. - Ron Lidman, a Guildford resident and one of the state's 35,000 Meals on Wheels volunteers.

The 61-year-old said after he lost his role as a national credit manager, he applied for about 300 jobs but ‘‘didn’t get a look in because of my age’’.

Mr Lidman is now one of the 35,000 NSW Meals on Wheels volunteers who were officially thanked during the 61st National Meals on Wheels Day yesterday.

‘‘It’s the best job I’ve ever had,’’ Mr Lidman said. ‘‘It’s great to be able to go to bed at night, put your head on the pillow and say, “I’ve done something good today that people actually appreciate”.

Asked for an example of the value of the service, Ron recalled one wheelchair-bound client, who didn’t answer a knock at the door.

‘‘I said to the girls in the office, “I’m not happy, something doesn’t seem right”.

‘‘The guy was on the floor, he’d fallen out of his wheelchair. This was a Friday and Meals on Wheels don’t work on the weekend, so it was conceivable that the outcome could have been totally different. 

‘‘What we do is not just so much just a “give you a meal, see you later”... In a lot of cases we’re the only contact they have with the outside world.

‘‘We’re an ageing population... it’s very important we look after our elderly folk.’’

Coordinator of Holroyd Community Food Services, Carlie Broadbent, said without the help of 45 volunteers like Ron, the food delivery service wouldn’t be available to Holroyd’s 404 clients.

Volunteer Ron Lidman and Holroyd Food Services coordinator Carlie Broadbent delivering a meal to Bette McCardle during a Meals on Wheels delivery on August 26. Picture: Anna Warr.

Volunteer Ron Lidman and Holroyd Food Services coordinator Carlie Broadbent delivering a meal to Bette McCardle during a Meals on Wheels delivery on August 26. Picture: Anna Warr.

‘‘I want to thank all the volunteers,’’ Ms Broadbent said. ‘‘The service is more than just a meal, it’s also daily contact, it’s friendship, it’s company - that daily care.’’

Meals on Wheels was first founded in England during WWII to help elderly people retain their independence and remain in their own homes. In 1953, the service was expanded to Australia, when a lady on a tricycle delivered meals in her South Melbourne neighbourhood.

Australian Meals on Wheels Association president Ron Welsh said National Meals on Wheels Day marks the progress made from those humble beginnings in South Melbourne.

"It is an opportunity to highlight to the Australian people the significant contribution that is made to the community by almost 700 Meals on Wheels services and over 75,000 volunteers across Australia”, Mr Welsh said.

Feeding the region:

Parramatta Community Food Services:

■ 279 clients and 79 volunteers.

The Hills Community Care:

■ 138 clients and 145 volunteers.

Blacktown Meals on Wheels:

■ 400 clients and 120 volunteers.

Holroyd Community Food Services:

■ 404 clients and 45 volunteers.

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