Narelle Milton and Audrey Wright hold the cake while Joan Howlett cuts the first slice on Sunday.
Narelle Milton and Audrey Wright hold the cake while Joan Howlett cuts the first slice on Sunday. Trevor Veale

Our soup kitchen reaches 21 years

“IT’S where people go to get a free feed, a place of safety – there’s no authority in the soupie, all we can do is sit and listen, feed them and love them.”

That’s how Uniting Church pastoral care worker Joan Howlett saw it on Sunday, when the ‘soupie’ celebrated its 21st birthday.

A 15-year veteran of the Uniting Church Soup Kitchen, Mrs Howlett said the service started because people came to the church looking for food and the congregation did something about it.

“They soup kitchen started purely out of need,” Ms Howlett said.

“They got a crock pot of soup and a loaf of bread together.

“There were no other agencies in Coffs Harbour giving out food back then. They took up a collection to buy a microwave so they were able to freeze big batches of soup.”

Ms Howlett said there was plenty of agencies offering meals today, ensuring that there was food available seven days a week.

“Our service runs Monday through Friday and the Salvation Army and other church’s offer meals on the weekend.

“We look after the homeless much better now then we did two decades ago.”

Terry O’Neill brings a pot of soup or stew in every fortnight and is the first to offer a cake or biscuits for special morning teas. “It is the support of people like Terry that allow the soup kitchen to be an ongoing success.”

If you want to help out by donating food or time, please call the Uniting Church Soup Kitchen on 6652 7044.



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