Back to helping those in need

Helen Halim, Sam Halim and Alison Gommers

Important community services in the Yarra Ranges are restarting their vital community support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Locals are now able to grab their regular meal from a Warburton soup kitchen again, while community organisations in Healesville have partnered to help feed those in need.

Healesville Inter-Church Community Care Inc (HICCI) has teamed up with Healesville Rotary and Sanctuary House Resort Motel to help deliver 65 two course meals.

The meals are financed by the Rotary Club, prepared by the Sanctuary House’s restaurant, and delivered by HICCI to those in need.

“Together we can get through these difficult Covid-19 times if we support each other and ensure that every effort is made to support those most in need in our community” Healesville Rotary Club president Sam Halim said.

“We are aiming to provide meals to our community’s most vulnerable residents, including low income families and the homeless. We intend to increase the number of meals provided soon. Rotary has always been there to help our community and make a difference”

Sanctuary House director Helen Halim said,“We are honoured to be a part of this noble cause to ensure the most vulnerable in our community are not forgotten during this harsh time. We ensure that all relevant health and safety precautions are followed to protect the people preparing and distributing the meals.”

HICCI CEO Allison Gommers explained how the meals will be delivered to those who are most vulnerable in the pandemic.

“As we have a database for the names and addresses of our community’s most vulnerable residents, we picked up the meals from Sanctuary House restaurant and delivered them,” she said.

“Some of them said they were happy to be a part of this community … Sometimes the older generation are forgotten and feel undervalued in times of crisis.”

While over in Warburton, Alvin and Sonia Knight’s soup kitchen has returned to action as they moved their meal service to a motorhome. They would serve weekly meals at the Redwood Community Centre before it was forced to close due to the increased risks of the pandemic.

“We just closed it due to people’s health and safety, Mr Knight said. “ We were unsure about what we could do in terms of running it.”

Mr Knight said that the service, held every Friday night for the last six years, typically feeds 10-20 people.

“We get a regular customer base, they are usually the same guys and then we have people dropping in out of the blue.”

Mr and Ms Knight’s idea to move the weekly meals to their motorhome in the carpark of the Redwood Community Centre means that locals can still receive a warm meal.

“The mobile side of it works really well,” Mr Knight said. “What I find is the food is the secondary thing, it’s the communication, it’s coming together and sharing stories and the food is secondary to that.

“It’s the conduit to be able to bring people together and enjoy company. When we do run it from inside they just sit there and chat and stories just unfold.”

Other day time services are about to recommence through the Redwood Community Centre, including a free weekly food distribution. For more information regarding this support service, contact Rebecca Auriant on 0411 865 790.

For more information about HICCI visit, or call 5911 6000.