Taree Community Kitchen joins forces with Orange Sky Laundry

Rewarding role: Orange Sky Laundry head of operations David Tubb encourages more people to volunteer for the Mid-North Coast service.
Rewarding role: Orange Sky Laundry head of operations David Tubb encourages more people to volunteer for the Mid-North Coast service.

CatholicCare’s Taree Community Kitchen and Orange Sky Laundry Port Macquarie have entered into a partnership which will see the Orange Sky Laundry van operating every Monday during lunchtime at the Taree Community Kitchen.

“The aim of this venture is to enable our vulnerable friends in the community to have their washing done by Orange Sky Laundry while enjoying a meal at our community kitchen,” says Gary Christensen, director of CatholicCare at the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

The joint venture announcement marks another major milestone for the Taree Community Kitchen.

Last year the kitchen served its 10,000th meal since CatholicCare took over the operation of the kitchen in 2015. Operating between midday and 1pm, the kitchen provides free meals five days a week to those in the community who need meals the most.

Mr Christensen said that CatholicCare regarded Orange Sky Laundry as an obvious partner given both organisations’ aim is to reach out and help the vulnerable in the Taree community.

“When an Orange Sky Laundry van arrives at a venue, it is not just about doing the laundry. Orange Sky Laundry is a catalyst for conversation.

“In the one hour that it takes to wash and dry someone's clothes there is absolutely nothing to do but sit down on one of six orange chairs for both volunteers and friends on the street to have a positive and genuine conversation.

“Similarly, while a meal served at the Taree Community Kitchen helps with hunger, it is the company of and conversation with other people while enjoying a meal together that fills a much bigger need.”

Gary said another common element was that at the heart of both organisations is the work done by volunteers.

“I am a little envious of Orange Sky Laundry which has 500 volunteers because at the Taree Community Kitchen we have a lot less in terms of numbers.

“For this reason, the Taree Community Kitchen is urgently seeking volunteers to help the 45 volunteers who selflessly donate their time and cooking skills to serve the vulnerable in the community.

“You don’t need to be a good cook to volunteer, we also need help with picking up food donations from local suppliers, and with greeting and serving patrons of the kitchen,”

Gary paid tribute to the efforts of the volunteers who make up the backbone of both organisations

 “Without the hard work of volunteers, their unselfish­ support and their constant commitment to helping those less fortunate than themselves, neither the Taree Community Kitchen would have been able to serve 10,000 meals nor Orange Sky Laundry volunteers hold more than 100,000 hours of conversation.”