That’s enough to feed a full-capacity crowd at the MCG or more than three crowds at McDonald Jones Stadium. But, sadly, this number is not a cause for celebration.
It’s actually a sad reminder that there are many people out there who are struggling.
At CatholicCare we have experienced a spike in the number of people needing the support of our Kitchen because of the rising cost of living.
Many of the people accessing the service see the Community Kitchen as a safety net when they face hard times.
For Bob* it’s a space he could not live without.
“It means everything,” he said.
“I am 84 years old, and if this kitchen wasn’t here, I’d be in a lot of trouble. Money is stretched and by the time the bills are paid, there’s not a lot left for food.”
Similarly, Lou* turns to the Kitchen for a bit of extra support when times are tough.
“It helps me get through the fortnight…and the meals are really good,” she explained.
Stories like Bob and Lous’ are what the team hears all the time. It’s why they are so passionate about making a difference and offering their friends a welcoming smile, a listening ear, and a free hot meal when they walk through the doors.
However, without volunteers and support from businesses, like Club Taree, the CatholicCare Community Kitchen would not operate.
Since opening, the service has grown as much as resources have allowed. In 2015, the Kitchen was open for just three days a week and now it operates over six days, serving lunch from Monday to Saturday.
As the number of meals served each day continues to grow, so do CatholicCare’s overheads.
One of the greatest expenses the team faces is the cost of food packaging. This cost also presents a dilemma while they endeavor to source more eco-friendly alternatives to the usual plastic takeaway containers. Going green does come at a cost, but CatholicCare is committed to reducing its impact on the environment.
Everyone is welcome at the Kitchens and the team needs your help to welcome more people.
Money and food donations are always appreciated and make a huge difference. Other than the Kitchens, the team also uses these donations for the Community Care Pantry.
Staples like rice, pasta, tinned vegetables, baked beans, coffee, and more are used to put together emergency food parcels for people in need.
To find out how you can support CatholicCare’s Community Kitchens, visit www.catholiccare.org.au/communitykitchens
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