Back­pack­ers are bowled over

Gayn­dah soup kitchen is a suc­cess

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50s -

GAYN­DAH woman Gaye Tyler is de­ter­mined to do her best to fos­ter a strong com­mu­nity spirit in the North Bur­nett town.

The long-time res­i­dent is also de­ter­mined to share that spirit with the back­pack­ers that play such an im­por­tant role in the com­mu­nity.

Mrs Tyler is among those re­spon­si­ble for the free soup kitchen pro­gram that has been op­er­at­ing dur­ing the pick­ing sea­son.

“We had this idea about help­ing make the back­pack­ers feel wel­come in the town so ap­proached Gayn­dah Churches To­gether as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Unit­ing Church,” Mrs Tyler said.

“Af­ter all, if we didn’t have the back­pack­ers in town the or­chardists wouldn’t have the work­ers.

“Be­ing part of the Churches To­gether is about be­ing able to reach out to peo­ple and show them love.”

Af­ter the idea for a soup kitchen was first mooted, Mrs Tyler said rep­re­sen­ta­tives from each of the churches in­volved in the Churches To­gether group met and mapped out a strat­egy for the meal plan and ser­vice lo­ca­tion.

“We or­gan­ised a meet­ing and got the con­cept off the ground re­ally quickly,” she said.

“All the churches in town work to­gether as one to help give ser­vices like this to the com­mu­nity.”

Riverview Car­a­van Park hosted the soup kitchens twice be­fore or­gan­is­ers moved it to the larger space avail­able at the YMCA.

“Af­ter the meet­ing in late April we kicked off the soup kitchen on May 4,” Mrs Tyler said.

Churches To­gether also sup­plied a ban­ner bear­ing its slo­gan Bring­ing Hope to the Com­mu­nity.

“Stacey from Riverview Car­a­van Park was par­tic­u­larly ex­cel­lent in mak­ing us all wel­come,” Mrs Tyler said.

“We got about 180 through on those first two nights but we needed to re­lo­cate to the YMCA just so that we could open it up to more back­pack­ers.”

The free soup kitchen has at­tracted an aver­age of 80 back­pack­ers each time it has been of­fered and Mrs Tyler said the feed­back they had re­ceived from the back­pack­ers was what they hoped for.

“They are very ap­pre­cia­tive of what we do and have said that it makes them feel wel­come and that they hadn’t re­ceived this type of wel­come in any other towns so far,” she said.

“Show­ing com­pas­sion for others and pro­vid­ing a free meal can do a lot of good.”

Mrs Tyler com­mended the ef­forts of the en­tire com­mu­nity which had helped get the soup kitchen con­cept off the ground.

“We re­ceive do­na­tions from the churches in town and the church mem­bers,” she said.

“And a lot of peo­ple do it for the love of help­ing, whether it is do­nat­ing time, food or money.”

Mrs Tyler rated the pro­gram an enor­mous suc­cess.

“This has been a large project of ours,” she said.

“By the fin­ish time the pro­gram will have been run­ning for three months, so it may run into Au­gust. I have been speak­ing with some or­chardists about it re­cently.”

Mrs Tyler moved to Gayn­dah 31 years ago and said that she was so en­am­oured with the com­mu­nity that upon her re­tire­ment from the Am­bu­lance Ser­vice she be­came more in­volved with the church and com­mu­nity groups.

“It’s a love for the peo­ple and build­ing friend­ships,” she said.

Mrs Tyler said the love of be­ing able to help others drove her work with Churches To­gether.

“I think be­ing friendly and show­ing that hand of friend­ship is re­ally im­por­tant,” she said.

“If you can get the mes­sage across that you care about the well be­ing then you are al­ready bridg­ing the gap.”

Mrs Tyler said the soup kitchen pro­gram was a team ef­fort from Churches To­gether and com­mu­nity mem­bers.

“It has been funded by that and the love of peo­ple and the love of cook­ing, I have a great team be­hind me” Mrs Tyler said.

“With­out that whole team this pro­gram just wouldn’t have been able to func­tion.”

Gaye Tyler: They are very ap­pre­cia­tive of what we do and have said that it makes them feel wel­come and that they hadn’t re­ceived this type of wel­come in any other towns so far.


LOVE OF COM­MU­NITY: Gaye Tyler and hus­band Russ are well en­trenched in the Gayn­dah com­mu­nity af­ter more than three decades in the town.

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