Volunteer Tara Meijer: 'Cooking with the elderly provides beautiful and instructive conversations'.

Tara Meijer (29) became acquainted with the world of volunteering through her work at ASML in Veldhoven. Her efforts made an impression on the volunteer platform Mensen maken Nederland. Tara Meijer has now been working as a project officer at ASML in Veldhoven for over four years. A dynamic working environment with a progressive policy is how she describes her experiences at the Veldhoven high-tech company.

From her personal interest, she started looking for possibilities to add more sustainability to her daily work. This is how she discovered that every employee at ASML is allowed to spend eight hours a year on sustainability.

Choosing from various possibilities
Tara: ,,ASML also offers various activities that you can choose from. I ended up at Samen voor Eindhoven and through them I started cooking for demented elderly people. Because I like cooking, but also because I have a grandfather and grandmother whom I like to visit regularly. In addition, both my parents work in care, so I think that this information played a part in my choice.

In order to start cooking with her target group, Tara had to look for colleagues who wanted to do it with her. Because you need at least eight people for such an activity'', she continues. But we succeeded and so we ended up at Archipel Passaat, a centre for geriatric care in Eindhoven. That first time was quite exciting, because you don't know exactly what to expect, but the staff at the Passaat think along with you.

There is a lot of laughter
Together with the participants, they cut the vegetables, set the tables and finally sit down to eat together. That's great'', says Tara. Because the participants participate enthusiastically and are very open. There is a lot of laughter among them during these hours. But I also find it quite special to do something with such an activity for such a vulnerable group. It results in beautiful and instructive conversations. Moreover, at the end of the day everyone sits around the table as a family, an important change from the daily routine in an institution.

Continuing with this work
After Tara Meijer had completed her first eight available hours at Archipel Passaat, she decided to continue. She is now coordinator of the cooking group at Archipel Passaat, even though it is currently on hold due to corona. I really miss having contact with the residents of the Passaat, they have had so few distractions in the last year anyway. It would be wonderful if we could start again in September. Because I will certainly continue to do this voluntary work.