Teenagers of Shark Bay are sweating it out in the kitchen to make delicious meals for the retirees of the community.
Community is a great source of comfort in worrisome times. In times when life puts individuals in difficult circumstances, it is people around that will help individuals to again find footing. Unfortunately, nowadays, the spirit of community is slowly dying, with people more focused on individual pursuits. Some teens in Shark Bay, Western Australia, refuse to let that happen and have stepped up for the older population in their area, as reported by ABC Pilbara. These teens have joined the kitchen to keep Meals on Wheels service alive and running in their remote area. These services are a huge help to retired individuals and help them lead a more comfortable life.
One of the teenagers who is offering his service to keep the initiative Meals on Wheels going in the town is Connor Cooper. He is a seventh-grader and initially did not have much interest in cooking like all children his age. However, when he got to know how much his community elders were suffering because the kitchen did not have enough volunteers to cook food, he traded his breaks to make different recipes come to life. The students are being aided by the P&C Association and the local school in their endeavor.
A dozen young kids like Cooper spend Saturday mornings in the kitchen at least twice a term, preparing meals for 50 people. Students do not think of this as a chore but rather a way to give back to their community and also have moments of joy with their peers. Cooper shares what they come up with in their kitchen, "We are cooking sticky date pudding, chicken soup, and spaghetti bolognese because that was a recommendation from the last time we did it."
He admits that he and many of his peers do not have a lot of experience with making food and require a ton of guidance. Cooper credits his guardians and other superiors who keep the students in check for making the experience what it is, "I've got gloves on because I keep cutting myself, but it's really fun and it's enjoyable."
For many older Australians, accessing a nutritious meal and wellbeing check is the leading factor in enabling them to stay living independently in their own homes, where they are often happiest. #morethanjustameal pic.twitter.com/Msu2cR8H1U— #GreenHealthForum23 (@WePublicHealth) August 28, 2023
A big problem that the students and organization encountered when they started the venture was transportation. They needed some way to get the food they had prepared to the recipients, most of whom were old retirees who could not come regularly. In order to solve this problem, the parents stepped up and offered their services to get the food delivered to the right place. The whole initiative was started by a local youth organization years ago, but then, as it grew and prospered the reigns were taken by the P&C.
They have served many long-time residents of South Bay, like Helen and Peter Morgan. Morgans find the Meal on Wheels valuable, as it not only gives them a night off from cooking but also creates a family. Mrs Morgan had nothing but great words for the volunteers, "They do a fantastic job. They're all very enthusiastic and it's just wonderful to see."
Volunteer Rebecca Moroney believes that this service not only benefits the retirees but also inculcates crucial qualities within the teenagers, "The leadership the kids get — you see as they do it more and more, they become more and more confident, and they take over and can take the lead."
Isabella Court, who has participated in the event seven times, believes that the most essential part of the whole thing was what she was giving back to her town. Moreover, her cooking skills have also improved with a new apple pie recipe in her arsenal for future use.