Club Taree Community Team members will step into Taree Community Kitchen (TCK) once a month to do food preparation and serve lunch to vulnerable people living in the Manning Valley.
The kitchen serves hundreds of meals each week and according to its operator, CatholicCare Social Services, the kitchen offers far more than food as it is a space where people can feel safe and enjoy the company of others. It says it is also a potential outreach opportunity for disadvantaged people to access other services via information and referral.
The new partnership with Club Taree is multi-faceted, and also involves the club hosting a Christmas celebration for the TCK volunteers valued at $1200, says Club Taree brand and communication manager Paul Allan.
"Among other initiatives, we are supplying $1000 in vouchers, which will be used to help purchase combining ingredients and cleaning equipment," Mr Allan said.
"Club Taree has also committed to an additional $2000 to provide further comfort to users of TCK, as seen fit, whether this be for the purchase or update of furnishings, or purchase of a television and sound system for user comfort."
The kitchen is open five days, however the goal of CatholicCare Social Services is to open seven days.
Gary Christensen, director of CatholicCare Social Services says the "kitchen averaged 32 meals per day in 2019, but it is not uncommon to serve more than 50 meals on a Monday, after the weekend gap. This highlights the need to open seven days a week."
It is an outstanding example of 'community in action'. Its very existence depends upon the goodwill of the community.Gary Christensen, director CatholicCare Social Services
Mr Christensen says there is great alignment between TCK, Club Taree and the Club Taree Community Team.
"We all just want to make a positive difference to our community," Mr Christensen said.
"TCK is a great example of teamwork creating a culture of community, just like that of Club Taree Community Team. The Taree Community Kitchen was CatholicCare's response to an obvious need in our town.
"It is an outstanding example of 'community in action'. Its very existence depends upon the goodwill of the community. To see the generosity of locals - individuals, businesses and now Club Taree - who are willing to help us help those less fortunate, is truly inspiring."
With the number of homeless on the rise as well as the growing number of people doing it tough financially, TCK fills a gap.
TCK co-ordinator Sue Abdoo says the kitchen has an open-door policy.
"Our main purpose is to help support the more vulnerable in our community - people suffering from financial hardship, homelessness, mental illness or disability," she said.
Many of our diners struggle against social isolation and TCK offers them a means of feeling connected to the community.Sue Abdoo, Taree Community Kitchen co-ordinator
"Many of our diners struggle against social isolation and TCK offers them a means of feeling connected to the community."
The kitchen receives no government funding and relies primarily on the generosity of the Taree community, volunteers and donors to provide its invaluable service.
Club Taree joins other major sponsors of the kitchen, including: Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, Coles - SecondBite Community Connect Program, Mayo Private Hospital, MidCoast Council, Eddie's Fresh Chicken, Bakers Delight, McGrath Butchers, Manning Valley Pie Company, Manning Valley Free Range Eggs and Centrepoint Gourmet Meat & Chickens.
The kitchen always welcomes additional support. To register your interest in becoming a volunteer or donor to TCK please contact CatholicCare Social Services on 6539 5900.
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