Struggling businesses offer help to put food on the table
WITH volunteer numbers down, and many struggling to put food on the table, The New School Of Arts community lunch program needed a helping hand.
Thankfully, two local businesses have stepped up to help out others and provide ongoing assistance for the charity.
The Clarence Kitchen Collective, run by Marijke VanderVlist has been gathering community donations from their customers to help support the lunch.
Across the river, Roches Hotel owner Mick Campton heard of the lack of volunteers and offered their team of chefs to cook up the local produce purchased with donations.
"Our biggest drama is that we haven't been able to have the volunteers for many weeks because of the COVID restrictions," NSOA general manager Skye Sear said.
"And we don't want to put any of our volunteers at risk because a lot are quite vulnerable themselves."
The chefs did their first cook last week, putting down more than 100 meals that will be frozen and then distributed to people over the next few weeks.
"I think the thing that struck me was that these businesses are doing it pretty tough themselves, and for them to help other people I thought was a lovely thing for us," Ms Sear said.
"This isn't the first time the Kitchen Collective has helped us; they've been collecting donations and bulk foods for a couple of months which has been lovely."
Ms Sear said that with recent job losses amid the coronavirus restrictions, many people had been caught short, or even had hours reduced that meant they found it hard to put food on the table and had been feeding between 30-45 people three times a week through the program.
"We provide a full emergency relief service so we can help people out with bills, and negotiate with companies to get them some relief," she said.
"We have so many amazing community members and local businesses that support our programs and services year-round. We try to support them where we can as well, so if you get a chance, please support the businesses that so readily support our community in times of need."
Free frozen meals will be available for takeaway from the Community Hub in South Grafton this week. For further information, you can call Ms Sear at The New School of Arts on 02 6640 3800.