FIVE Hunter residents have been honoured for their voluntary contributions to the community at a ceremony in Newcastle on Friday.
They are the 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Hunter region. The awards are an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering and are considered one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across the country.
Anthony Milburn was named the Senior Volunteer of the Year and overall regional winner. Mr Milburn helps collect fresh produce from up to 20 local farms that would otherwise go to waste.
The food is transported to the Slow Food Hunter Valley Foundation where it is turned into meals.
His passion for farming and dislike of waste helps to rescue up to 10 tonnes of fresh farm produce each year, creating 5000 meals for people in need throughout the Maitland region.
St John Ambulance worker Joshua Wallace was awarded Hunter Young Volunteer of the Year. He has been providing care and support at events throughout the region for more than a decade.
The Hunter Adult Volunteer of the Year was Rosalie Taggart, who has spent the past 15 years dedicated to the management and promotion of the Hunter Valley Breast Cancer Foundation.
Her persistent volunteering has helped the foundation provide support for breast cancer patients with services such as house cleaning, gardening, transport to hospital appointments and other important services.
Share the Dignity were named the Hunter Volunteer Team of the Year. Based in Blackhill, Share the Dignity volunteers run campaigns to help to collect sanitary items for refuges and shelters providing accommodation to women facing homelessness and domestic violence.
The regional finalists will be invited to a gala state ceremony in Sydney to find the overall state winner. The 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by the Department of Family and Community Services and ClubsNSW, which represents the state's 1,400 not-for-profit clubs.
"A vibrant volunteering sector leads to healthy and strong communities," Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said.
"In NSW, volunteers contribute more than $5 billion to the economy each year and their social contribution is even greater. The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are a fitting way to say thank you."