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Susie Dunn of NSW Meals On Wheels and Carol Casson help Rhonda Raven celebrate 24 years of service.

Rhonda retires after 24 years serving the community

Lynne Mowbray |

Grafton Meals on Wheels manager Rhonda Raven has hung up her apron after 24 years serving the community.

It was a day of mixed emotions last week as volunteers and clients farewelled the highly respected volunteer at a combined send off and luncheon during Volunteers Week, at their base in Bacon Street, Grafton.

Rhonda said that when she started at Meals on Wheels she was a kitchen hand cooking and serving up for the clients.

“When we got a chef in, I took over the paper work side of things and helping out with the ordering of food,” Rhonda said.
“About five years ago, we took over supplying meals to Ballina and Evans Head, as a lot of places don’t have a kitchen.
“When I took over from Hazel Pearce in October 1994 we were doing 1524 meals a month and now we’re doing 2378 excluding what we supply to Ballina and Evans Head.
“We supply 200 – 300 meals plus sweets (chilled and frozen) to both those areas each week,” she said.
Meals on Wheels provide meals for their clients several times a year at their facility in Bacon Street. This gives their clients the opportunity to get out of their homes and socialise with others, whilst enjoying a restaurant style meal.
“We have a Christmas in July, Volunteers BBQ and each month we have a centre base where we bring the clients in for a meal,” Rhonda said.
“We give them a choice of meals and sweets and at Easter we give them Easter eggs and hot cross buns and at Christmas they receive a card and gifts.
“This makes it interesting for the clients and they love it and they love having the opportunity to get out of the house and come in and socialise with others.
“To see them appreciate and enjoy it is wonderful and gratifying,” said Rhonda.
In her retirement, Rhonda is looking forward to a bit of travelling with her husband Jim and catching up with their family.
“I’ve loved every moment of working with the volunteers and clients,” she said.

President Robert McFarlane, cake and dessert wizard Carol Casson and Beth Herkess serve up some delicious cupcakes.
Rhonda Raven of Maclean celebrating her retirement and 24 years of service surrounded by fellow volunteers.
Rhonda Raven serves up her last meal to Merrill Smith.
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