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A heart warming meal

A heart warming meal

This week (Tuesday May, 21) marked 12 months of ‘Lunch in the Park’ - a free, hot meal for members of the Orange community, who for one reason or another, are homeless or find themselves in need where they have little means of getting a decent meal.

Staff and volunteers from Ashcroft’s IGA, Housing Plus and Live Better give their time freely to serve the meals. Local businesses including Baker’s Delight, The Village Bakehouse and Blayney Foods, all generously donate food each week, and the CWA donates the hall free of charge. Each of these acts of kindness make up the success that the Lunch in the Park has endured over the past year.

The team marked the anniversary with a delicious cake and received help from the Canobolas High School Girls Academy to help serve meals. Member Girls Academy, Kimi Craigie- Lucas said, “We are involved with IGA Barbeques though this is my first time doing this lunch service. Everyone is really appreciative. I think it’s really great for them to come in and enjoy the food and it made me realise not everyone gets the same amount of food as others.”

Case Worker with Homelessness Service at Housing Plus, Fiona Lindsay has been working at ‘Lunch in the Park’ since the beginning, “This service has really highlighted that there’s a lot of people within our community that are struggling, with the increasing factors of electricity and rent, this is probably only one hot meal that they are able to just come and sit at. In saying that, it’s not only the homeless that we cater for, we also get pensioners.

“On average we get 20-30 people through the doors though in saying that it can be 40-50 people some weeks, and its open to all ages.” With the healthy- hot traditional meals changing each week, the community has been served beef stroganoff, Shepard’s pie, fried rice and curried sausages just to name a few. “They are getting something that tastes homemade and they’ve got its nutritional value in it as well,” Fiona said.

“Everyone who comes here is so grateful, and we have gotten to know a lot of the regulars. Its just been beautiful to see, when we first started there were only some people who knew each other and talked, and now a lot of them sit together each week and more friendships have formed, and it’s their weekly outing- it’s beautiful. Everyone is able to just sit in a safe environment and enjoy the company of those around them.”

Congratulations to everyone involved, and kudos on one year! This is an initiative the Orange community should certainly embrace.

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Rod Bloomfield - People of O-Town

Rod Bloomfield - People of O-Town