Council boosts funds for community kitchen as demand surges

Council boosts funds for community kitchen as demand surges

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Despite a “roadmap to freedom” being announced yesterday, Penrith City Council is again stepping in to fill the gaps where assistance is falling short.

Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown OAM said Council will quadruple its funding to the Penrith Community Kitchen after the needs of the community outweighed the anticipated demand.

“I’m pleased to say that Council will donate a further $9,000 to the Penrith Community Kitchen to keep on top of the demand for basic food services,” Cr McKeown said.

In July Council was asked by the Kitchen for a donation of $3,000 to support its cost during the pandemic. However, it has become clear as the pandemic continues that there are individuals and families who are continuing to struggle and as a result Council will take its contribution to $12,000.

“There are people who have no support network to do shopping or go to the chemist for them, or the people they would normally call on are also in isolation,” Cr McKeown said.

“Some of these people are living week to week on a limited income with no milk or bread, or fruit and vegetables in their homes.

“In some instances where people have been told to isolate immediately, they are placing an online order at the supermarket but the next available delivery is in six days’ time. That’s just far too long to go without.

“We know people in our community are doing it tough, with a recent survey conducted by Council showing that 7% of them have no family or service support network. The sad reality of this pandemic is that there are families and individuals out there who are unable to put food on their plate and we are hearing many stories like this directly from our residents,” Cr McKeown said.

A similar initiative in North St Marys has seen demand surge since it opened on Thursday 2 September. The Hamper Hub saw over 90 food hampers distributed since opening with feedback on the initiative overwhelmingly positive as Council adapts this new model to meet real-time needs of the community.

“On one hand I’m glad there is a goal towards freedom, however it is still weeks away and many of our community need this assistance today to keep going,” Cr McKeown said.

Council will continue to work with the Community Kitchen and other local emergency relief services to ensure they can access supplies from FoodBank and OzHarvest to support the ongoing sustainability of their relief operations.

Many people are experiencing a range of challenges, from mental health through to support for finances or family stress. Council has a ‘Support Services Guide’ which is regularly updated and available on Council’s COVID-19 webpage or for assistance please call Council on 02 4732 7777.

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Sunday, 12 September 2021.