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Members of the community come together on a Monday night to share a free meal, at The Maclean Community Soup Kitchen. Images: Lynne Mowbray

More than just a meal at Soup Kitchen

Lynne Mowbray The Maclean Community Soup Kitchen serves up more than just a meal to the community, each Monday night.  Most of those who attend benefit from the companionship and conversation, whilst enjoying a meal served up by the dedicated and caring volunteers. The Soup Kitchen has been in operation since 2012 out of the CWA rooms in River Street, Maclean, however due to current renovations of the CWA’s kitchen, the Soup Kitchen is temporarily located at the Free Presbyterian Church Hall in Wharf Street, Maclean. Spokesman Leon Ankersmit said that last year the Community Soup Kitchen served up 1255 meals to the community. “We are grateful for the support of local businesses, including Botero who supply coffee and other goodies each week and BodyRock Gym who generously donated the proceeds of their annual fundraiser to us last year,” Mr Ankersmit said. “We would love to welcome more people to come along and join us for a meal. “We would especially like to welcome people who are a bit lonely and who would like some company; you don’t have to be destitute to enjoy a meal at the Community Soup Kitchen,” he said. The testimonials from those who attend each Monday night from 6pm, indicate that there is much more to this Soup Kitchen, than just a good meal. Jack Rollans 14, of Mororo said that he began volunteering at the soup kitchen as part of his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which required him to complete three months of community service. “I enjoy helping out with the [food] preparation and serving,” said Jack. “It’s a great community environment and the people you meet are really cool,” he said. Jack enjoyed the experience so much that he continued volunteering after completing his community service stint. Geoff – Geoff was sitting on a seat on the side of the road in River Street around 5.30pm one Monday afternoon not feeling very well; ‘I didn’t have much else to do but to go home and maybe watch some television. I was feeling lonely. Somebody walked past and invited me to come up to the Soup Kitchen for a free meal.  I arrived at 6pm to a vibrant room full of people sitting at tables. I sat down. I ate a nice meal and some bread and had a cup of coffee. All provided for free. That was almost five years ago. I wasn’t feeling very social and didn’t talk much to anybody on that night. I was a bit nervous.  I’ve started going almost every Monday night because I get to have a meal with the friends I made there and because I’m always meeting new people.  The spirit of kindness and generosity among the Soup Kitchen volunteers is something unique and refreshing. I know I’ll be showing up each Monday night for many years to come.’  Chris –  ‘The Maclean Soup Kitchen is a little known treasure providing care and companionship for those local and not so local and caters for people of all ages. The camaraderie for those who participate in a shared meal is indeed food for the soul. The soup kitchen is a place where people can come together and talk about their week and whatever else comes to mind; we share good times and hard times. The meals are prepared by a dedicated team of people who care for their fellow human beings. Those who participate, walk away with the feeling that we are all brothers and sisters and have shared in a family meal The Maclean soup kitchen is a community venue providing food for the tummy and food for the soul.’  
L-R Geoff Williams and Chris Stacey enjoy the camaraderie of the soup kitchen.
Some of the happy volunteers who help out each week in the running of the soup kitchen.