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Tuesday, 31 March 1998
Page: 2036

Mrs ELIZABETH GRACE (10:44 PM) —Mr Speaker, I would like to pose a question without notice: how long does it take to serve and deliver one million meals? The answer is just under 25 years. In my electorate of Lilley, Crosby Park Meals on Wheels recently served its one-millionth meal to 92-year-old Mr Joe Davis of Clayfield. This is a remarkable achievement and tonight I would like to pay tribute to all the staff and volunteers of Crosby Park Meals on Wheels who have graciously given of their time in both meal preparation and delivery over the last 25 years.

It was a special day, and to celebrate it His Excellency the Governor of Queensland, Mr Peter Arnison, and his wife, Barbara Arnison, who is the patron of Meals on Wheels, proudly delivered a meal to Mr Davis. This was no ordinary delivery for Mr Davis. Not only did he have the Governor of Queensland in his living room but it was soon engulfed by numerous television cameras and microphone-wielding journalists. Mr Davis took it all in his stride and gave a heartfelt thanks to Meals on Wheels for its commitment, hard work and generosity of spirit to those in need.

To celebrate the day, Crosby Park Meals on Wheels delivered meals free of charge, which was a very kind gesture considering their tight budget. I take this opportunity to congratulate Peter O'Brien, the Service Manager, and Lorna Anderson, the President of Crosby Park Meals on Wheels, for organising such a wonderful celebration to commemorate the delivery of their one-millionth meal. It was also a pleasure to have there the Queensland President of Meals on Wheels, Mary Lowe, and the Queensland Administrator, Mr Greg Payne, to help with the celebrations.

I know I speak for the state member for Clayfield, the Hon. Santo Santoro, and the Councillor for the Ward of Hamilton, Mr Graham Clay, when I say that it was a very humbling experience to meet and talk with the 50 or so committed volunteers of Crosby Park who day in and day out give up their time to help those in need.

Across the country, Meals on Wheels organisations are always on the look out for volunteers, and I urge all members of this House to give their services to their local Meals on Wheels branch. I do, and I can recommend it. For two hours each month I deliver 25 meals to needy residents in the suburbs of Chermside and Wavell Heights. What really gives me a feeling of satisfaction is that the majority of Meals on Wheels clients sit on their verandah or by their window waiting for me or another volunteer to arrive. For many of these people, it is the highlight of their day because it may be the only contact they have with another person. It gives me a tremendous feeling of satisfaction at the end of my run. I recommend this feeling to everybody.

At Crosby Park Meals on Wheels, the food is cooked fresh on the premises and about 130 to 140 meals are delivered seven days a week, including on public holidays. Like other Meals on Wheels organisations, Crosby Park has no means test and delivers to all people in need. These range from a young multiple sclerosis sufferer to a 98-year-old lady. It is the aspiration of Crosby Park Meals on Wheels to lift the national profile of Meals on Wheels with the creation of a national awareness week, which will include a national Meals on Wheels day where every customer across Australia receives the same delicious meal.

A national awareness week would give the organisation the perfect opportunity to encourage more Australians to donate their time in helping to bring a little happiness and comfort to others. I wish them all success, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that they succeed.