Hunter Hands of Hope resumes sit-down service at Aberdare Road outreach

WELCOME BACK: Hunter Hands of Hope volunteers Cheryl, Anne, Jodi and Melissa preparing for the return to sit-down service last Tuesday.

WELCOME BACK: Hunter Hands of Hope volunteers Cheryl, Anne, Jodi and Melissa preparing for the return to sit-down service last Tuesday.

Cessnock outreach service Hunter Hands of Hope is serving sit-down meals once again.

Table service resumed last Tuesday at the Aberdare Road outreach, which provides meals and a range of support services to Cessnock's vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

Hunter Hands of Hope was closed from March 23, when the federal COVID restrictions were first introduced, and reopened for takeaway service on June 2.

With restrictions easing further, and the charity deemed an essential service, president Melissa Gontier said the time was right to resume sit-down meals.

"Our clients are very happy that we are in full service again," she said.

"It's the social aspect that they miss; their mental health has suffered."

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Ms Gontier said it has been a tough year for their clients, with many families returning to crisis care due to the lack of rental properties, and a rise in women fleeing domestic violence during COVID-19.

"We have had referrals from as far away as Newcastle, it never ends," she said.

Heading into the new year, Ms Gontier said the charity will be seeking grants and support from big business to move into a permanent, bigger home.

Hunter Hands of Hope is open Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 5pm to 7pm at the former caretaker's cottage at Cessnock Tennis Courts on Aberdare Road.

Volunteers, meals and donations are always welcome. For more information, call 0429 779 067 or message Hunter Hands of Hope on Facebook.

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