Din­ner donor

Canning Times - - NEWS - Ben Smith

Meet the grant re­cip­i­ent be­hind a lo­cal church’s com­mu­nal din­ners.

WHEN Lisa Whittle first pro­posed a com­mu­nal din­ner to unite the com­mu­nity, she had no idea how pop­u­lar it would be­come.

The C3 Lang­ford Church mem­ber came up with the idea to host a reg­u­lar com­mu­nity din­ner at the church to help con­nect with lo­cal peo­ple.

Rather than a typ­i­cal soup kitchen, Mrs Whittle said she and a band of vol­un­teers de­cided to turn the idea into a reg­u­lar com­mu­nal din­ner in or­der to es­tab­lish a stronger com­mu­nity con­nec­tion.

“Our aim was to get into their world and hav­ing a meal was the be­gin­ning; din­ner at our place is how we con­nect,” she said.

“Food is con­nect­ing peo­ple so we can build a re­la­tion­ship and con­nect to our com­mu­nity.”

Mrs Whittle said the idea proved more pop­u­lar than they first thought; so pop­u­lar in fact, they de­cided to down­size the event.

“When we started, we were weekly and we grew; one din­ner had up to 400 peo­ple,” she said.

“It’s hard to con­nect with 400 peo­ple and our aim was to be in­ti­mate and con­nect. It lim­its who you can con­nect with

“We ba­si­cally went fort­nightly and since we’ve halved to about 200 peo­ple, it is so much eas­ier and we are able to be more in­ti­mate.”

Hav­ing re­cently been voted a West­field Lo­cal Hero and se­cured a $10,000 grant for the ini­tia­tive, Mrs Whittle said they were look­ing at pur­chas­ing a mini­van to help el­derly peo­ple and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties get to the din­ners.

She stressed the din­ners, which op­er­ated fort­nightly, were open to every­one and they wanted to en­sure no one felt alone.

“Some peo­ple don’t have fam­ily, friends, they might feel alone, and the din­ners are for any­one who wants to be a part of some­thing and be­long,” she said.

“These peo­ple are mak­ing con­nec­tions, they’re walk­ing down the street and see­ing some­one they didn’t know be­fore the din­ners.”

Vol­un­teers at C3 Lang­ford Church in the kitchen ahead of a Love Lang­ford din­ner.

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