A community kitchen for all

In response to the growing need to support the vulnerable and disadvantaged, coupled with hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Forster Tuncurry Community Kitchen launched in July 2020.

The kitchen provides free, nutritious meals to anyone who would benefit from this service – as well as surplus bread, and fruit and vegie parcels when available.

Our aim is to assist vulnerable members of the Great Lakes community regardless of their age, gender, physical and intellectual capacity, religion or ethnicity. We support and provide care for people faced with financial hardship, homelessness, mental illness, physical or intellectual disability, or social isolation.

Located in the parish hall at 33 Lake St, Forster, our service operates each Wednesday and Thursday between noon and 1pm. However, the kitchen offers far more than just a free meal. We provide a means of social inclusion for our diners.

With the assistance of volunteers, CatholicCare, and the Forster Tuncurry parish, we have created a space where people can feel safe and enjoy the company of others. It’s your community kitchen, and everyone is welcome. Come and enjoy the company of others in a safe, friendly environment.

The Forster Tuncurry Community Kitchen is also a potential outreach opportunity for disadvantaged people to access other services via information and referral. We are non-government funded and rely primarily on the generosity of the Forster Tuncurry community, volunteers and donors to provide this invaluable service.

The community kitchen recently partnered with Alesco Senior College students in Years 11 and 12 studying retail. We tailored the involvement to suit students’ learning outcomes as well as those of our diners. Students participate as “front-of-house support”, which allows them to develop their customer-service skills and the packaging and display of merchandise – in this case, fruit and vegie packs.

This collaboration has only just begun and is a wonderful opportunity for these young people to consider the social issues impacting their community.

If you are looking for ways to support your local community, and you do not identify as being in any of the “at-risk” categories for COVID-19 flagged by health authorities, then we welcome your help.

There are many ways you can get involved, including the collection of food donations from local businesses, assisting with the preparation of the daily meal, making up fruit and vegie packs for our diners, cleaning, serving meals – all the while greeting the people we support with a smile.

This service belongs to the Forster Tuncurry community. It is your community kitchen. It exists in your town to assist vulnerable people you pass by in the street every day. We need your help to sustain our operations to make a real difference to the lives of the people we support. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, email ccenquiries@catholiccare.org.au for more information.   

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