About Us

Vision Statement

A compassionate community where everyone cares for each other, offering support and aid to those in need. We envision a place where helping the vulnerable, the homeless and low-income families ensure no one goes hungry in our community.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to create a supportive service within our community, providing meals, resources, and compassion to those experiencing homelessness and financial hardship. We aim to foster a culture of generosity, where individuals come together to uplift and empower each other, building a more inclusive and caring society.

Goals

Our History

Our journey began in 1994 as The Penrith Soup Kitchen, organised by Lifeline and funded through donations. We first opened our doors on July 11th, 1994, at Worth Street in Penrith. The original team included Cathy Craig, June Woolard, and Reverend Alan Jackson, who worked with a passion for helping others. The food they served was provided by donations from local businesses like Duffy Brothers, The Lions Club, and Franklins, allowing them to serve between 40 and 90 meals from Monday to Friday, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. Their mission was to support those in need, including street youth, the elderly, the unemployed, and low-income earners.

Unfortunately, on Christmas Eve in 1996, the kitchen had to close its doors due to insufficient funding. But the local community rallied together, with business owners, supporters, and the Penrith City Council, State, and Federal members coming together to find a new home. After months of dedication, the soup kitchen reopened on September 5th, 1997, at Calkerinos 488 High Street Arcade, where it stayed until October 2010.

In February 2011, with the support of State Member Stuart Ayres and donations from the local businesses & community, the kitchen moved to its current location at the back of PCYC Penrith. The funds raised, totaling $40,000, helped build a new kitchen, allowing us to continue serving hot, nourishing meals to those in need. Today, we proudly serve approximately 100 meals every day, Monday to Friday, and continue our tradition of ensuring no one goes hungry.

Present day …

In 2024, we launched a new initiative called “Food for Local Kids.” This program supplies breakfast, lunch, and snack items to 11 local schools and PCYC Penrith, addressing the needs of underprivileged children who attend school without proper meals. In addition, we provide emergency food hampers to families in need, helping teachers support students when they identify hunger-related issues. This program costs around $700 per week per school, but it plays a crucial role in supporting the education and growth of children in our community.

Despite our success, we do not receive consistent funding. We rely on the generosity of local businesses and community members to sustain our operations. Our annual rent is approximately $39,000, and our monthly food expenses are around $1,500. Without the support of local food drives, OZHARVEST, Foodbank, local schools, Rotary Clubs, and Lions Club, meeting demand would be challenging, especially given the economic hurdles in 2024.

The kitchen is managed by one paid coordinator and a team of 40 dedicated volunteers who work on a based roster, cooking with love for the community. Our volunteers find fulfillment and friendships while  giving back. Our volunteer committee works tirelessly to raise funds, collaborate with local businesses, and offer hands on assistance in times of emergency, such as during fires, floods, and the COVID-19 pandemic but especially Christmas when the need is always larger.

As we celebrate our 30th anniversary in July 2024, we continue to honor our mission: “No one goes hungry.” With the support of our community and unwavering commitment, we look forward to many more years of serving those in need and strengthening our local community.

What We Supply To Our Community

We provide a nutritious meal Monday through Friday from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, serving bread, butter, condiments, fresh fruit, soup, water, and sweets to those in need. In addition to our daily meal service, we offer emergency food hampers and frozen meals for those facing difficult times.

Every year, we hold a winter appeal to gather extra warm clothing such as beanies, socks, gloves, jackets, and blankets to distribute to the community. The Creative Fringe collaborates with local volunteers to knit and sew blankets, which are then distributed during our winter drive to help keep people warm.

At Christmas, we organise a special luncheon with all the traditional trimmings, partnering with local businesses like Penrith RSL, OzHarvest, Panthers, Outback Steakhouse Penrith, Screaming Beans Cafe and ABCOE to create a festive event. Children receive gifts, and we distribute toiletry packs, food hampers, and other items to bring some Christmas cheer to those in need. We offer this event to various local agencies serving vulnerable people, often providing for up to 1,500 individuals. The success of this event relies on the generous support of many local businesses and community members, who contribute their time and resources.

Our “Food for Local Kids” program is a weekly service that supplies breakfast, lunch, snacks, and emergency food to 11 local schools and PCYC Penrith. This program helps ensure that students have access to basic nutrition, enabling them to focus on their studies and participate fully in school activities. The program was initially funded by the Federal Government (thanks to Melissa McIntosh MP), with additional grants from Saints Leagues Club, CBA, and Rotary Valley. These contributions allowed us to purchase the necessary supplies to start the program, but we need ongoing support—approximately $700 per month per school—to continue providing this essential service to vulnerable students.

Through these programs and events, we work tirelessly to address food insecurity, support our community, and make a difference in the lives of those who need it most. Our commitment to serving others is sustained by the kindness and generosity of our volunteers, local businesses, and community supporters.

Our Volunteer Committee Members

Executive Committee Members:

General Members: