Hunter's Meals on Wheels volunteers celebrate 50 years of serving the community

THEY have been serving Newcastle locals for 50 years but last week the tables turned on Meals on Wheels volunteers, who were on the receiving end of a meal instead.

More than 220 volunteers packed out Chevals Restaurant at Newcastle Jockey Club to celebrate half a century of community service.

Lifetime achievement awards were presented to seven volunteers who have served more than 40 years with Meals on Wheels.

Among those honoured were former president Tom Griffiths, Dulcie Hipwell (Boolaroo branch) and Grace Woolcock (Lambton branch).

The organisation has seen a lot of changes over the past five decades, with new branches opening and closing, branches outgrowing their homes and others joining forces with neighbouring suburbs.

Newcastle Meals on Wheels has seven branches - Wallsend, Lambton, Boolaroo, Hamilton, Merewether, Mayfield and Stockton - with a central cooking hub in Tighes Hill.

Newcastle Meals on Wheels president Col Stockwell said the future was promising for his organisation.

"Our state-of-the-art kitchen in Boolaroo is set up to do so much more," he said.

"We expect to grow both our volunteer and client numbers in the years to come."

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