Lee Ting-chung, 73, shared her culinary secret. “When you cook with love and heart and do it happily, the food tastes better,” she said. Lee applies this approach whenever she prepares meals for her hungry peers at a neighbourhood elderly centre in Chai Wan. As a member of the Super GoldenAge volunteer team organised by the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong, the septuagenarian has helped feed needy seniors in her neighbourhood since 2016. Elderly people can enjoy lunches at HK$18 (US$2.30) per person in the centre’s canteen every Wednesday and Thursday. They can also get surplus bread, collected from a bakery in a nearby district, for free from Monday to Friday. Celestine Chow Ching-yi, who set up the team about three years ago, said their volunteer services were popular with the local elderly. “Most of the team members are housewives and they are good at cooking,” she said. But the team could only make meals for up to 18 people each time, given the small size of the rooms, she noted. “These volunteers are also elderly people. We don’t want them to work too hard,” Chow added. It’s so encouraging to see people enjoy our food, Lee Ting-chung, volunteer cook For its team ethos and contribution to the community, the Super GoldenAge team has been nominated for a Spirit of Hong Kong Award. The annual awards, co-organised by the South China Morning Post and property developer Sino Group, honour the achievements of remarkable people whose quiet work may not come to public notice. The Chai Wan Neighbourhood Elderly Centre of the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong recommended the team for this year’s Spirit of Teamwork Award, which recognises unsung groups embracing their roles as socially responsible corporate citizens. On the right track: the running group spreading a healthy habit Chow said there were 13 members of the catering team, while the bread collecting team consisted of nine people. The average age of volunteers collecting bread was 73.7. The volunteers working for the catering service, with an average age of 75.2, usually take turns to buy ingredients and cook. Lee said they mostly served two-dish meals with homestyle Chinese soup. “It’s so encouraging to see people enjoy our food,” she said. Her teammate So Pui-chor, 82, said the elderly users of their catering service were always appreciative of their traditional home cooking. “They like our papaya fishtail soup,” she said. Yuen Pik-yuk, 76, said she was a regular at the centre and came every week to eat. “They offer a diverse and well-balanced menu that suits the tastes of old people like me,” she said. While using the centre’s catering service, Yuen also volunteers to collect surplus loaves. Chow said the centre did not receive any food sponsorship, except the donated bread. She said their catering service was sustainable because the volunteers were willing to do more to reduce operating costs. “When they make a water chestnut dish, they peel the water chestnuts themselves, instead of buying the skinned ones, which are more expensive,” she said.