Bendigo's soup kitchen caters serves up more than food

BENDIGO’S Soup Kitchen is looking to expand its scope in the New Year.

Bendigo Community Health Services, with generous support from Cafe De Mill and Beck Legal, staffs the Soup Kitchen on Thursday afternoons.

It’s designed to help people in need and provides between 15 to 20 people with a hearty meal each week.

But Bendigo Community Health Services public relations officer Sharna Rowley said the service was not just about the food.

“People can come down and have a chat and we can get them help accessing other services,” she said.

“If they’re having trouble with podiatry, we can offer them that. Or if they need a GP, or their diabetes is a bit out of control, we can help them access those services.

“We’ve had one person come through and we’ve sat down and had a chat and found out that they don’t walk very well because they’ve actually got really bad feet. 

“It turns out it was a podiatry problem and that person was able to see a podiatrist and she was able to go out and play with the grandkids. 

“Those sorts of stories have been really nice.” 

The Soup Kitchen recently swapped to its summer menu and is now serving up chicken and salad.

The kitchen will serve its last meal for the year on Thursday and will return on January 10 at 4pm outside Cafe De Mill in Hargreaves Street 

“The year has been really good,” Ms Rowley said.

“We have regulars that come in and see us but we’ve also had a few new ones that might be living in their car, or they’re homeless or they’re doing it a bit tough and might just need a bit of help for a couple of weeks.

“The Soup Kitchen is also for working families that can’t get that grocery bill to last the week.”

Ms Rowley said staff at the Soup Kitchen were very friendly and people should feel comfortable using the service.

“Even if it’s just to come down for a chat, or take a meal home, they’re welcome,” she said. 

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