Emma Pritchard, Clarence Valley Independent
While discussing how they could help locals affected by the recent floods during the past several weeks, members of the Clarence Valley Community Church and the Lower Clarence Presbyterian Church embraced the idea of opening a community kitchen in Maclean.
The two congregations promptly started researching and organising recipes, scouting for a suitable location within the township, and drawing up a roster of volunteer cooks.
Speaking with the Clarence Valley Independent last month, Grant Kaczorowski from the Clarence Valley Community Church said the last two years have been hard on everyone in the local region following the catastrophic bushfires in 2019, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and more recently, the devastating floods.
Mr Kaczorowski said the concept of the community kitchen is about more than providing hearty meals to the public.
“It is important people have a place they can turn to for help and support,” he explained.
“We understand people are doing it really tough at the moment, and if we’re able to offer someone the opportunity to talk with another person about their experiences and do whatever we can to provide ongoing support coupled with a meal and friendship, that is exactly what we will do.
“We’re calling it a community kitchen for a reason.
“We will be there as a community for the community.
“If people want to come and have a chat, share what is going on in their lives, bring their families, they will all be welcome.
“This is about giving something back to our community.”
Mr Kaczorowski said members from both churches are “really excited” about the community kitchens scheduled opening next week and everyone is keen to help out with the project.
While the community kitchen will serve a variety of dishes including kids’ meals, Mr Kaczorowski revealed volunteers will do their best to cater for different dietary preferences.
Local businesses including SPAR Maclean have also donated a monetary amount towards the community kitchen with Mr Kaczorowski confirming the project aims to work exclusively with Clarence Valley based organisations.
“It’s all about working within the local community and supporting one another,” he said.
“All of this came together when we started talking about ways we could help people after the floods, and we’re all really excited to see how this progresses.”
The Maclean community kitchen will open on May 9 and operate between 6-7:30pm each Monday at the CWA rooms at 40 River Street, Maclean.
This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 4 May 2022.