Over the past ten years, Havilah staff and volunteers have provided dinner for The Maryborough Rotary Club on some forty evenings each year. Up to twenty volunteers, under the guidance of Raeleen Brooker and Susan Edmondson, peel vegetables and cook meals (no pre-cooked food here) . Raeleen plans the menus and does the shopping. "They know me well down at the local supermarket". Through their community network they have catered for funerals and functions and now weddings "just finger food, not the whole sit down affair" says Raeleen. They are starting to cater for other events and dinners as people find it so convenient to order finger food for their parties.
The Rotary dinner involves the works. Sometimes casserole or fish and chips; other nights it is a roast or even a theme. Raeleen and her volunteers like the challenge. For one dinner Rotary had just returned from a trip to India and they thought it might be nice to have Indian food for dinner. They asked Raeleen if she would like to order in from the local Indian restaurant but she wanted to give it a go. When they served it Rotary thought it was so good they asked if it was ordered in. For special dinners like that or fancy desserts Havilah Chefs Phil O'Shea, Di Jackson and Greg Murray help out.
The group of volunteers help set tables, chop, bake, dish up and clean up. Some have special skills. Moira Saul specialises in dessert. "Tonight when I go home I have to make three wedding cakes!" she says. Moira has been volunteering for Havilah for ten years. She loves helping and has family members living at Havilah. "It's good to volunteer for the community. We have fun," says Moira as she looks for the chicken leg she asked for to take home. Instead a volunteer has plated up a whole bowl. "You see what happens when you ask for a chicken leg here?"
Other volunteers such as Rosalie Douglas and Stu and Glenis Argall also help because they want to raise money for Havilah. They enjoy helping and Rosalie’s husband Brian was involved in the development of Havilah. Barb Duffin CEO of Havilah is also plating and cleaning up in the kitchen tonight. "Raeleen and Sue run the catering" says Barb. "along with lots of others I just help out" she says, as she efficiently manages her volunteer duties.
They raised $20,000 last year.
In the old days they used to cater for Rotary in a different kitchen. They would be transporting equipment each week and hand-washing the dishes. Since moving to Havilah on Palmerston in 2013 with everything in place in the commercial kitchen situated there, the volunteer time has reduced and flexibility of what can be provided has increased. For dinner volunteers can start at 6pm and be out by 8.30 thanks to the commercial dishwasher and modern equipment or they can come in for an hour in the afternoon and set up the tables. This is great for volunteers who can be involved by donating just one or two hours. If someone wants a salad or has a special dietary requirement they can easily whip something up.
In total $175,000 has been raised up to December 2014.
If you would like to be a part of this volunteer group please contact Raeleen Brooker or Sue Edmondson by telephoning 5461 7300.