A South Tamworth Catholic church is helping to bring HOPe to the city's most vulnerable, homeless citizens, kicking off a new soup kitchen.
Deacon Paul Manvell said the Mary Help of Christians Church had held its first ever HOPe Kitchen, last Wednesday.
He said the weekly charity event, held at midday until 2.30 pm on Wednesdays at the Hillvue Road Scout club, is aimed at helping the most needy in the city.
Deacon Paul said the Catholic community of the church had to step in when injustice was taking place in its community.
"That's what the church has done for 2000 years," he said.
"Our first saint in Australia was Mary MacKillop, Saint Mary of the Cross. And she said, if you see something that needs doing, do it. And that's what we saw. And that's why we're doing it."
The HOPe Kitchen, which stands for the Heart of Peace Kitchen, was spun off an earlier effort to provide food for farmers, which evolved into pandemic assistance for others.
Deacon Paul said where the earlier aid campaigns had donated groceries, many homeless people don't have microwaves or stoves.
The church has stepped up again, cooking a hot, slow-cooked meal for the most needy.
"For me, personally, I've learned a lot from this. The definition of homeless for me as a naive Australian, is of people living on the street under the bridge. We have so many homeless people who are living in cars, who are living in tents, who are couch jumping, who are just doing it very tough," he said.
"And also, what we've learned from this enterprise is there's a lot of people who are lonely. And what we're offering is a family home-cooked meal once a week that served with tablecloths with crockery with cutlery.
"This is not mass production, we are cooking the meals and delivering it and more importantly, sitting down and talking to the people who come to us."
About 12 servers and four cookers - all volunteers - cooked 82 meals last Wednesday.
Deacon Paul anticipates this Wednesday's kitchen to be even more popular.
He's put out the call for more volunteers, particularly cooks willing to go through training, to help out.
"The cost of rent in regional Australia has increased by 30 per cent in two years," he said.
"The benefits for unemployed, for illness and sickness, old age pensions hasn't increased by 30 per cent. And so people need to keep the roof over their heads, and they're losing some meals to do it. And that's where we step in."
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