Nelson City Taxis backs lunches for elderly

A weekly lunch organised by Nelson City Taxis driver Kylie Conning and backed by the company is making a major difference to the lives of some of the city’s elderly. 

Lunches for the Elderly - Nelson City Taxis

Kylie comes off the road each Friday morning to cook a hot lunch for the elderly who turn up, then serves it, cleans up and goes back to work as a taxi driver. The company got behind the weekly lunches when it saw the difference Kylie, backed by other Nelson City Taxis people when available, were making to the lives of the elderly people, many of them lonely and possibly not looking after themselves.

Elaine Mead, co-ordinator for Richmond Senior Citizens, says many elderly face isolation and depression and the efforts of Kylie’s lunch and the others has helped them enormously. “They’ve become known as Angels in Disguise and their efforts have helped us to get other activities going. Kylie made it clear from the start she didn’t want any fuss or credit for what they do. Her efforts have had an amazing effect on people who face isolation and often depression. The lunches have made a big difference. My experience is that food brings people together.”

The Friday lunches began just on a year ago when Kylie found she was temporarily unable to do her usual airport shifts. (You don’t have to do much to fall out with the Nelson Airport management). “But every cloud has a silver lining and I started working in the suburbs and carried a lot of elderly people during the day. I was always concerned about some of them living on their own and being lonely and decided there was no reason why we couldn’t put on a lunch for them.

“We got it started with the help of a close friend and some of the taxi drivers and we’ve put on lunch every Friday since then. Food donations help and lunch is different every week. There are always freshly baked scones and muffins to finish off.

“Now I really enjoy working around the suburbs and I haven’t been back to the airport. Many elderly need help and I’ve helped them with all sorts of tasks, including fitting new sheets on their beds and stacking firewood.”

Kylie has been driving taxis for five years and enjoys it immensely. Driving around the suburbs during the day gives her a chance to look at people’s lives.

“If we can do something to help others then we should take the opportunity,” she says. “Food feeds more than the stomach,
it feeds the soul and the spirit and that is the real value of the Friday lunches.”

Lunches are cooked in a suburban church kitchen then transferred by taxi to the Richmond Senior Citizens where grateful diners are waiting. Last Christmas, Nelson City Taxis sponsored a special lunch for the elderly and 75 were there to enjoy it.”

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Together Feeding the Community Spirit - Nelson City Taxis

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