30 year lunch tradition keeps elderly in touch

From left, Pearl Vince, Hazel Bowdler (aged 102) and her sister Meryl Wilson (90) at the Elderly People’s Luncheon Club last month.

For around 30 years, an institution unique to the Hibiscus Coast has been providing the elderly with a chance to socialise and enjoy a hearty low-cost meal twice a month.

The Hibiscus Coast Elderly People’s Luncheon Club was originally established by the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) and has no affiliation to any church or charity organisation. However, a number of organisations lend their support, including churches, schools and the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board. The club is run by a team of about 16 volunteers, many of whom are older than those receiving its benefits.

It’s a bit of a hand-to-mouth existence, but Joan Roberts, who has been volunteering for 15 years, says the pleasure the participants get from the event makes it all worthwhile.

“They love it,” she says. “One lady is 102 years old and she comes along with her sister who is 90. Normally, we get around 40 to 45 people attending, although it does drop off a little in winter. The average age is around 75 years plus.”

The club provides entertainment, as well as a hot two-course meal, for $5.

Volunteers do the cooking and serving, and a raffle helps meet some of the costs. Transport can be provided if required.

“We try to make each luncheon special and we always do something a little different for Christmas, mid-winter and Easter, as well as people’s birthdays. For some who come along, it can be their only outing in the fortnight.”

The luncheon club meets in the Masonic Lodge, Centreway Road, on Mondays. For details of dates and times, phone Joan on 427 6263.

Kalasia Senico of Haldene Resthome with Ngarie Alo at the luncheon club.

The luncheon club has been putting smiles on faces for around 30 years.


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