Home delivery aids independence
By Robert Burton-Bradley
When a close colleague suffered brain damage, Jack Barker knew he wanted to help, but he never envisaged he would end up delivering 4,000 meals a week.
Mr. Barker's friend ended up in Royal North Shore Hospital after a serious car accident but it wasn't until one of the doctors mentioned that, once discharged, patients needed help with decent meals that Mr. Barker thought about starting a meal delivery service.
Initially, Mr. Barker founded the organisation Tender Loving Cuisine (TLC) to deliver healthy meals to people who needed home care or were convalescing after a hospital stay.
"After this happened to my friend, I thought about it and it seemed like a good idea. What's more, I wanted to make sure that these people were not just getting meals, but healthy ones," he said .
The organisation has since grown from a small team into a major community service. "It's gone from a couple of meals a week to over 4,000 meals a week," Mr. Barker said.
Almost all meals provided by TLC have Heart Foundation Tick approval, Mr. Barker said.
TLC has recently expanded to cover the Central Coast and North Coast areas and in addition to this it has enlisted high-profile support from Hazel Hawke who has endorsed the meals.
"We are committed to constantly improving the meals we provide and helping people to live at home comfortably without having to go into nursing home," Mr. Barker said.
Mr. Barker, 66, said he had no plans to retire, pointing out that the average age of TLC's delivery teams is between 50 and 60.
"Many delivery people are semi-retired and work one or two days a week, and they like having a bit of purpose and also the knowledge they are helping others. It works well for everyone," Mr. Barker said.
"I plan to keep going indefinitely as we've got a lot of clients to help, a lot of mountains to climb and a lot of meals to deliver."
For more information, contact 1800 801 200 or visit www.tlc.org.au
Copyright, North Side Courier