Church offers free lunch service

Preparing for a healthy, free meal service are Serving Spoons committee members, from left, Catherine Birt, Theresa Fouché and Valentina Pereira, with Love Soup Hibiscus Coast’s Julie King.

Orewa’s St John’s Catholic church will serve up a free community lunch every month, starting on February 26.

Church volunteers are working with Love Soup Hibiscus Coast to get their Serving Spoons initiative off the ground and will eventually take over the operation themselves.

Serving Spoons committee member Valentina Pereira says she approached Julie King of Love Soup because she felt a free community meal might be needed in Orewa. Like many local churches, St John’s has a foodbank and is well used to providing all sorts of support for parishioners.
“Our church is very aware of families who are struggling, and often can’t afford fresh fruit and vegetables,” Valentina says. “That is a real concern and we wanted to help as an outreach of the church.”

Valentina, together with other members of the organising team Catherine Birt, Theresa Fouché and Cath Copley, recently consulted parishioners on the idea and received a warm response. A number of people have signed up to help, and cash donations have also begun to come in.

Flyers are being circulated to advise the community of the free meal.
Love Soup Hibiscus Coast began offering its free meal service in Whangaparaoa around 18 months ago, and this is the first offshoot to start up locally.

Currently Love Soup has an average of 50–60 people attending its weekly Sunday meals at Whangaparaoa Hall.
Julie King says that many people are afraid to ask for help, and a free meal is a way to invite everyone in and make contact with people.

Initially, Love Soup’s chef Richard Ransfield will cook the Serving Spoons lunches, with food provided by Love Soup. The church is seeking donations of fresh fruit and vegetables from parishioners.
The free lunches will be provided in St John’s Catholic church hall, 180 Centreway Road, Orewa, on the last Monday of every month – starting on February 26. It is open to all. The hall can accommodate around 80 people for the sit down meal.


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