As large as Penrith is, the community within it is tight knit, and relies on the work of countless volunteers to function.
This week, during National Volunteer Week, local organisations have been shouting from the rooftops in celebration of the change makers who go above and beyond.
Nepean Food Services has been offering meal delivery, social support, and local community activities for local residents since 1992.
To recognise their volunteers, the organisation held a high tea on Monday at The Bunker in Mulgoa, attended by Lindsay MP Melissa McIntosh, Member for Penrith Karen McKeown, Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen and Councillor Robin Cook.
Local volunteer Alan Greenfield attended the event and was awarded a certificate of appreciation, saying that his last five-and-a -half years with Nepean Food Services have been some of the most rewarding in his life.
“It means everything to me, being a volunteer,” he said.
“It gets me out of the house, I feel like I’m doing something and contributing to the area. It’s an all-round good feeling.”
Greenfield’s responsibilities primarily involve delivering meals to the elderly.
“I’ve got one beautiful lady, she’s 92. She’s got a little bit of Alzheimer’s, and when I first called on her, her front door and her screen door were unlocked, which is not nice for a 92-year-old lady,” he said.
“I rang our people, who rang her carers, and we got a lock put on her door.”
His work with the organisation saw him awarded Volunteer of the Year in 2021, with Greenfield saying it always feels good to be recognised.
“In five years, these people thought that highly of me that I was a quiet achiever, and that really blew me away,” he said.
Other local organisations have also been backing the work of their volunteers this week.
Alex Donaldson has been involved with the Rotary Club of Penrith Valley since 1981, as well as volunteering with the NSW Fencing and Australian Fencing Federations.
With the Rotary Club, Donaldson describes himself as the ‘logistics person’ – purchasing and coordinating items to run their barbeques and events. For him, volunteering is about giving back.
“I just love helping others and giving back to the community,” he said.
Despite having over 40 years of volunteering under his belt, Donaldson said that some of his proudest work has come along more recently with Road Safety Education Australia, running driver awareness programs at the Regatta Centre among other locations.
“If it ends up saving the life of one child somewhere who learns to take more care when they drive by being in that program, that’s all I could ever want,” he said.
Each of these organisations are always in need of more volunteers, with Donaldson encouraging everyone to get on board and help out.
“I would absolutely recommend others get into volunteering,” he said.
Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.