As isolation and social distancing measures continue to impact our lives, the personnel living at RAAF Base Tindal have embraced a novel idea aimed at ensuring everyone in the close-knit Top End community remains well-nourished and socially connected.

Inspired by popular food delivery services, Flying Officer Kelly Harris, the Personnel Capability Officer of Number 17 Squadron, has spearheaded one of her own that not only satisfies hungry stomachs but also warms hearts.

“The delivery service idea was formulated pretty quickly and reactively to COVID-19,” Flying Officer Harris said.

“Being a remote base where a high number of personnel live, we had an immediate requirement to feed quarantined members who couldn’t leave their rooms to attend the mess. 17 Squadron catering section has the ability produce the meals and I came up with the means for the food to be safely delivered, fresh and delicious, three times daily.”

Members in isolation call the mess to find out what’s on the menu and place their order. Rostered volunteers deliver the meals to quarantined members using trolley-mounted hot boxes. Personal protective equipment is used and social distancing rules are followed for all deliveries.

“Our community has seen all ranks getting involved. Even the commanding officer of 17 Squadron and Mac, our welfare dog, have pitched in to deliver meals,” Flying Officer  Harris said.

“Everyone is getting behind the delivery service, and I often don’t have enough delivery work for all of the volunteers.”

But there’s more to this initiative than meets the eye. Tindal’s delivery service is also a medium for sustaining social connectedness.

“It’s not just about making sure that members are able to eat healthy and delicious food while they’re in isolation. It’s also about making sure they still have the opportunity to connect and talk to people who care about them,” Flying Officer Harris said.

“It’s another platform that we can use to provide face-to-face human contact and welfare support to the members who provide essential capabilities here at Tindal every other day of the year.”

RAAF Base Tindal’s Senior Officer, Wing Commander Timothy Ferrell, has been moved by the way personnel have banded together in these uncertain times.

“The delivery service initiative demonstrates the resourcefulness and community spirit of the team-Tindal family, Wing Commander Ferrell said.

“Volunteers from across the base have put their hands up to assist their mates in circumstances that none of us have experienced before.

“I’m extremely proud of the ideas, such as this one, that team Tindal has come up with in response to the COVID-19 restrictions to look after their mates.”