Win-win for Coast Shelter and local café owners

Coast Shelter Acting Community Centre Program Manager Penny Williams with Kirsty Martin from 3 Naughty Boys

COVID-19 might be impacting its regular services, but Coast Shelter is alive and well and still doing its utmost for the disadvantaged in the region.

CEO Rachel Willis said a new program being run in conjunction with local cafes and restaurants was helping provide meals to those in need while keeping employees of the eateries in work.

“Due to COVID-19, we were no longer in a position to accept donations from the community and volunteers were no longer permitted to help in our Community Centre kitchen,” Willis said.

“So our meals program from the Community Centre had been reduced to Monday to Friday, and only lunch time takeaway service.”

But the shelter realised that by collaborating and partnering with cafes and restaurants in the region, it could increase its meals program to include take-away dinners and support local businesses at the same time.

The program sees the shelter buying 50 meals a day Monday through Friday from participating eateries, which deliver the meals to Coast Shelter for take away dinner service through the Community Centre and transitional housing between 4.30 and 5.30pm each weekday.

“When people are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, and they don’t have a lot of choices about what they eat or even where they sleep, even the simple pleasure of enjoying good food can mean so much.” Willis said.

“A takeaway meal, or contactless delivery to our residents in transitional accommodation, is part of providing meaning, wellbeing and belonging.

“Meals are important in so many ways other than satisfying hunger.

“We are also acutely aware of how important the role our local cafés and restaurants play in our community, with hospitality being one of the largest employers of young people here on the Coast.

“We are trying to do our part in keeping local businesses thriving while providing meals to those doing it tough.”

A pilot of the GIVIT-19 meals program began on April 20 with the first cafe partner, 3 Naughty Boys Café from Kincumber, working with the shelter for three weeks.

Following its success, the team at Gosford’s Recess Kitchen took over from May 11, with four more eateries already signed up to keep the program going on a weekly basis.

The program is funded by Coast Shelter’s online fundraising campaign, GIVIT-19, which was launched in March and has already raised more than $70,000 through donations from such organisations as Rotary North Gosford, Gosford Masonic Centre, Advice Co, Street Smart Australia, Sanitarium, Mars Food and Central Coast Law Society.

“We are excited to work with Recess Kitchen, continuing with our successful program and expanding to other local cafés who will help us to #Feed4aWeek and make a difference in the lives of those who need it most,” Willis said.

“We will post on our social media each Sunday night announcing the café partner for the following week.

“We encourage our local community to support these and all small businesses as we work toward recovery.”

Eateries already signed up to the program include Wyong’s Royal Hotel, Di Matteos of Forresters Beach, Café Jamm of East Gosford and Napoli Pizzaria of Ettalong.

If you are a café or restaurant owner on the Central Coast and are interested in getting involved, email or reach out via social media.

Willis said the coronavirus would not stop Coast Shelter’s commitment to helping those in need.

“Our services won’t stop; our commitment to helping those in domestic and family violence crisis won’t stop; our engagement with the local community who support us won’t stop; and our focus on ending homelessness won’t stop,” she said.

“It’s a responsibility that we all share and the support of generous donors, our MPs and local associations and business is making a difference.”

Media release May 11
Coast Shelter