This week I met with Father Daniel of the Anglican Parish in Gladstone and we chatted about a lot of things but ‘religion’ wasn’t one of them.
Instead, we talked about the ‘visions’ he had for the people in the community of Gladstone, who are struggling and what his parish and volunteers have achieved so far.
Father Daniel has been here at the Anglican Parish in Gladstone for 8 years. He is passionate about the things the parish and volunteers organise weekly to help children, families, homeless and people in need that are struggling every day.
Rays Soup Kitchen is run from the St Saviours Hall every Monday and Wednesday night from 6 pm and is open to anyone in need. Father Daniel said that the numbers vary each week but the volunteers and himself cooked for 90+ people at one time.
Who would have thought that we have that many homeless/struggling people and families in our town? Father Daniel said that he is so very blessed to have many volunteers alongside him.
Some of the volunteers come to cook, some to clean up the dishes and some just like to come and talk to the people in need. The soup kitchen is solely funded by donations from the community and volunteers, they do not receive any funding from the government.
This amazing kitchen provides for a variety of people each week including the homeless, lonely, the elderly, financially struggling, people battling addictions and domestic violence victims and children. Two local bike clubs, MACE and the LONERS volunteer security for the soup kitchen on alternate nights, making sure that all the visitors are considerate of each other every week and everyone stays safe, happy and has a full belly.
I was lucky enough to speak to some of the volunteers when we visited the kitchen, here is what they had to say…
Sau ~ 3 years ~ “This is my journey, I was one of these people; in ‘need’ for 22 years. I came and ate at the soup kitchen regularly and after a while, I realised that there was more I could do for the meals that I was receiving. It is now like a home away from home, I am here every day, I love it. To see the look on the peoples’ faces when you have helped them is what it’s all about.”
Anonymous ~ 2 years~ “6 months after my husband had passed away, I didn’t know what to do with myself as I was always there for him. I came to the soup kitchen to keep myself busy and I just wanted to help. Volunteering just makes me feel so good.”
Tania & Vlad ~ 2 years ~ “I used to help the homeless, people in need and people battling addictions when I lived elsewhere. Helping the less fortunate is something that I am passionate about. My husband and I sought out a similar cause that we could help with when we moved here and we found the soup kitchen.”
John ~ 6 months ~ “I have been blessed throughout my life and I wanted a way to ‘give back’ somehow. I attend the Anglican Church and I asked father Daniel if I could help in any way and here I am.”
Father Daniel has also started a men’s shelter for the men in the community that are struggling. Volunteer Sau is the live-in resident and helps Father Daniel out with this amazing service.
Hands up for those of you that think Father Daniel and his amazing volunteers are nothing short of amazing and would like to know how to help lighten the load of all these great services they offer to our community?
- Cash donations to the designated ‘community’ bank account. You can contact the parish on 4972 4754 for details
- Donations of non-perishable food items for food hampers and soup kitchen.
- Donations of toiletries for the hygiene packs.
- Vouchers from supermarkets for the soup kitchen supplies.
- Vouchers to purchase meat for the soup kitchen meals.
- Clothing donations are welcome and will be passed onto ‘this n that’ shop after 2 weeks if not taken home with people in need.
- Purchasing of homemade jams, chutneys, and spreads that are available for purchase at the parish