A thunderstorm and power blackout didn’t stop the volunteers from Soupz On providing a special meal for homeless and disadvantaged people in Cessnock on Christmas Eve.
Originally intended to be an outdoor meal, the event was quickly moved inside the Music for Life hall when rain started to fall Saturday evening.
The evening also included a visit by Santa Claus, aided by members of the NSW Rural Fire Service Central Brigade.
Following the evening meal volunteers from Soupz On delivered Christmas hampers to some of the disadvantaged people and families around Cessnock.
“Through the generosity of the community, and groups such as Scouts, Cessnock SES, the Vines Community Church and Hope Valley Christian Church we managed to put together 36 food hampers, including some toiletry items and small toys for the younger kids,” Soupz On public relations officer Martin Howells said.
“We were also fortunate enough to receive some handbags from Share the Dignity’s ‘It’s in the Bag’ campaign filled with items for women, that we included with some of the hampers.”
It was Soupz On’s first year providing the Christmas Eve dinner and hampers, and team leader and co-founder Wayne said they were blown away by the support from the local community.
“It is encouraging to see so many people willing to help brighten the lives of someone less fortunate,” he said.
Soupz On will continue to operate its soup kitchen on Friday and Saturday night from 7pm at Music for Life (22 North Avenue, Cessnock) from January 6.
Mr Howells said the soup kitchen is seeking a home of its own, so it can set up permanently and expand its services.
“While Troy at Music for Life has shown invaluable support, he still has a business to run and we need to find somewhere permanently indoors,” Mr Howells said.
Soupz On handed out 700 meals, plus toiletry packs, grocery packs, clothes and blankets, from April to November 2016.
“It’s obvious we are meeting a need that is real,” Wayne said.
Anyone wanting to know more or offer assistance can visit www.soupzon.org.au or pop into the soup kitchen Friday or Saturday night.
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