Torquay College loves its kitchen volunteers

May 24, 2021 BY

Volunteers Ross Herbert (left) and Annalies Gerritsen. Photos: JAMES TAYLOR

TORQUAY College loves its volunteers, and is hoping a few more pop up to help out with its successful Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.

The primary school has been part of the food education initiative for eight years, and has used this week’s National Volunteer Week (May 17-23) to celebrate the invaluable support it gets from parents, friends and community members to run the program for the 318 Grade 5 and 6 pupils.

“Without these volunteers, we can’t run the program,” Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden co-ordinator Terri Mintram said.

“We normally cook five different things – we’ve normally got two groups outside the kitchen as well – so you’ve got to have a volunteer with each group.

“Every time you do a lesson, we need at least four volunteers to help us.

Alan Scott (with chicken) and Torquay College pupils Wolfgang, Millie and Chase.

“We organise morning teas for them so they get to meet the other volunteers that work on different days, so they are getting to meet different people in the community.

“It’s a bit of a social thing, too; we make it a lot of fun.”

Ms Mintram said Torquay College had lost between 10 and 15 volunteers from its roster during 2020, and was keen for more to sign on.

“We have about 60 on the books, but they don’t all volunteer regularly; we only have about 10 who help regularly.

“Parents do help as well, but they may only come in when it’s their child’s class, whereas these 10 people will come in every week.”

Lorraine Wyatt (left) helps a pupil in the kitchen at Torquay College.

Lorraine Wyatt has been a volunteer with the college’s Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program every Thursday for the past four years, and joined up after seeing an article in the Surf Coast Times.

“We’d not long moved down here (to Torquay) permanently, and I thought to myself ‘I love cooking, I can do that’,” she said.

“It’s fabulous, it makes you feel young, it gives you new life. Plus the kids love cooking, and I love teaching the kids.

“I think it’s an essential part of their learning. It is a life skill, it’s probably more important than knowing how to spell something, in a way – at least if you’ve got food, you can live!

“And it teaches them to be resourceful, and to use what you’ve got.

“To grow something and cook it, it’s beautiful.”