A DECADE on, Mount Gambier’s Sunset Community Kitchen continues to offer a hearty helping of support for families and individuals experiencing hardship.
What started as a small volunteer meal service has quickly transformed into a significant part of the Blue Lake city’s charitable support network.
Community members continue to give their time each Wednesday to prepare and serve dine-in meals, as well as offer other forms of support to residents, with businesses donating food to help sustain the service.
After six years with the organisation, president Maree Thompson said community donations were the lifeblood of the kitchen, which operates out of the John Frew Centre.
“People who have extra produce will come in and hand out their extra produce to us which is extremely handy,” Ms Thompson said.
“We have volunteers who cook, pack and hand out take away meals on a Monday as well as volunteers who cook, serve and clean up after our sit in meals on a Wednesday.
“For a lot of people the Wednesday sit-down dinner is quite a social situation, they all sit at the same table which is great for them.”
Ms Thompson said volunteers see a range of people walk through the doors, including those sleeping in cars and families who are struggling financially.
“Some people who come in may say that it was a tight week due to bills or rent but we also get single people, couples, families – they come from all over the spectrum.”
Looking back at its past, Ms Thompson said the organisation originally started as part of the city’s Catholic church.
“Now it is just a stand alone group who decided there is a need and there definitely is – we are seeing that need getting bigger and bigger,” she said.
“It is caused by everything across the board with rent, utility bills things are getting more expensive now especially utilities and I think people are finding it harder to manage.”
A regular recipient of local donations, the Sunset Community Kitchen recently received $320 from the Mount Gambier RSL Bowling Club.
Collected from the club’s “Wrong Bias Box”, the kitchen was chosen as the charity of choice for the “wonderful work” the volunteers take on.
“We chose Sunset Kitchen because the members thought it was a worthwhile cause and because locals stay here and help the local community,” bowling club president Nigel Tobin said.
“We usually pick a worthy cause and donate that money and we choose a different charity each year.
“I have heard all about what they do for the needy and provide meals and a majority of the members really wanted the money to go to this cause.”
Ms Thompson encouraged those who have been involved within the kitchen over the past decade to attend a celebratory afternoon tea on June 2.
The afternoon tea starts at 2pm with formalities at 3pm.
Contact Jackie Lawson on 0400 177 097 to register your attendance.