St Benedict’s opens for Anti-Poverty Week

Volunteers Jeanette Buckley (left) and Kris Mitchell helping out in the kitchen at St Benedict’s Community Centre. Photo: Miles ThompsonST BENEDICT’S Community Centre in Crawford Street will be working to raise awareness for Anti-Poverty Week in the coming days, by opening their doors for lunch to the whole Queanbeyan community.

The Community Centre will be serving lunch to both the public, as well as those in need, between 12:00pm and 1:00pm on Tuesday, October 13, Wednesday, October 14 and Friday, October 16.

St Benedict’s serves lunch five days a week to the poverty stricken, normally to around 70 people a day.

However this week, they will be increasing their capacity where possible, as well as seeking involvement from local dignitaries, Co-ordinator Elaine Lollback said .

“The Councillors will be cooking lunch on Wednesday,” she said.

“We’re hoping the Mayor’s going to come down to serve on Friday.”

All those who regularly volunteer at the centre will also be on hand. Ms Lollback said there were around 80 in all, and some who travel from as far as Cooma to help out.

“St Benedict’s wouldn’t exist without the community,” she said.

“We’re really going great guns at the moment.”

Ms Lollback had great praise for Queanbeyan’s support of the organisation, with people regularly providing donations of milk, blankets, or simply just their time.

“It can really make a difference in someone’s life,” she said.

Tom Parkes, a member of St Benedict’s Community care program, said that the initiative was a great opportunity for the general population to take a closer look at what St Benedicts provides.

“It’s an opportunity to chat to the people who are there regularly, the people who are homeless, and people who’ve got difficult circumstances,” he said.

“That’s what Anti-Poverty Week is all about.”

Mr Parkes said opening up understanding, particularly about the different circumstances the poverty struck find themselves in, was crucial to helping make poverty a thing of the past.

“We’ve got young people who need counselling, who’ve got no where to go.

“We’ve got people who are out of jail and looking for a new start.

“We’ve got people with drug problems, and some people with mental health problems.”

Anti-Poverty Week starts on Sunday, October 11 and concludes on Saturday, October 17, with the United Nations initiated ‘International Anti-Poverty Day’.

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