Uniting Church free evening meal

Uniting Church members John and Michelle Jelbart, Bev Hawken, Adrienne Bradley, Joan and Bill Paul, Evelyn Shallvey and Marie Weller.
Uniting Church members John and Michelle Jelbart, Bev Hawken, Adrienne Bradley, Joan and Bill Paul, Evelyn Shallvey and Marie Weller.

After the Uniting Church Congregation reluctantly announced in 2015 it would no longer be organising the Elvis Gospel Service after 14 years, church members have been looking for new ways to reach out to the local community.

After a six month feasibility study to gauge what was on offer in the district, a group of leaders from the church have come up with a new way to offer help to the community – a free monthly meal. 

A guaranteed scrumptious home-cooked nutritious meal will be prepared by the Uniting Church members and offered to residents of Parkes at no cost.

Coordinators of the initiative are Bev Hawken, Evelyn Shallvey and Adrienne Bradley. 

Bev said it’s a new idea for Parkes.

“No one offers free meals,” she said.

“We just wanted to do something and we really hope it takes off and helps those in need.

“All are most welcome, especially families, people who are looking for company and those who have stretched budgets and don’t normally have the opportunity to go out for a meal.”

Each month a team of 12 church members will prepare and serve the free meals.

“We have managed to get three teams of 12 together who will take it in turns,” Bev said.

“But of course we would welcome help and support from anyone who would like to be involved.” 

Uniting Church members will trial the “Free Monday Meal” for 12 months. 

“Hopefully our diners will spread the word so we can reach as many people as possible,” Bev said. 

On the first Monday of each month, commencing on Monday, July 3, from 5.30 to 6.30pm, the doors of the Uniting Church Hall in Court Street will be open to anyone who would like to be part of this monthly gathering.

“Many thanks go out to Coles, St. George’s Pantry, Parkes Stationery and Christine’s Signwriting who have all helped to make this venture possible,” Bev said.