Millicent soup kitchen plan

SERVING UP FOR THE COMMUNITY: Social Issues Committee members John Drew, Emma Clay and Moira Neagle are planning to operate a soup kitchen in Millicent to address food insecurity, as well as combating social isolation.

By Raquel Mustillo

A NEW community food initiative aimed at positively influencing the eating habits of socioeconomically disadvantaged families as well as countering social isolation has been endorsed by Wattle Range Council.

The recently launched Millicent Shares a Plate initiative aims to provide food relief for vulnerable community members through the establishment of a soup kitchen.

Developed by council’s Social Issues Committee, the group plans to deliver the meal centre on Thursday evenings in the RSL kitchen until there is an established and proven need and capability.

Wattle Range councillor John Drew said the initiative was based on Mount Gambier’s long-running Sunset Community Kitchen, which provides free meals to community members that have been prepared by volunteers.

“There are two points to this operation, one is the provision of the meal, but more importantly, is the social interaction that is generates,” Mr Drew said.

“This is quite significant for those people who don’t have friends and don’t normally mix with others to get together.

“The committee has been told there is a significant number of homeless and disadvantaged people in this town and that we need to support them.”

Mr Drew said the initiative would complement the town’s existing free meal project that was launched by New Heaven Indian Restaurant owner Sukhchain Dhaliwal earlier this year.

“We are aware that the New Heaven Indian Restaurant and the Millicent IGA currently provide meals on Mondays, and the idea was we could complement that service by providing meals on the Thursday,” he said.

“[We will] begin on a low level while we test the system.”

At this week’s Wattle Range Council meeting, Mr Drew sought a $1000 financial contribution for start-up costs for the group.

Wattle Range mayor Des Noll raised concerns about providing the funds to the organisation due to it not being an incorporated body, prompting a motion from deputy mayor Moira Neagle calling on council to auspice the group.

Elected members agreed to provide support for the initiative but did not allocate any funds towards the program.