Marion Jensen has been a dedicated Meals on Wheels volunteer since the 1980s. Taking up the mantle seemed like a natural fit for Marion, whose in-laws had been helping for over two decades when she joined.

A farming couple for much of their lives, Keith joined his wife volunteering when he retired from the property in 1995 and they moved to town.

“My parents did it when they moved to town in ’64 so really we just stepped into their role,” he says.

As part of that role, Keith, who is a member of the Central Baptist Church, coordinates one day of the roster every five weeks. He finds the volunteers and ensures they all make it to their run.

The couple have some interesting memories from their time delivering meals, including one case where a woman’s cat would receive half the meal. Needless to say, it was a very well-fed cat.

Marion says the thing that sticks in her mind are the people.

“Sometimes they give as much back to us, some of these people are just amazing and we get great friendships.”

Although much has changed over the years the Jensens have been volunteering, ultimately Marion believes the foundation of Meals on Wheels remains.

“The people are the same, the service is still delivered with a smile. Many of the people look forward to the company as much as the meal.”

How to help

Our Meals on Wheels service helps people living at home by providing them with a healthy meal every day. New Zealand Red Cross volunteers like Garry deliver around 620,000 meals a year - that's nearly 12,000 every week.

Find out more about volunteering or apply online to become a Meals on Wheels driver.