Starting life as an activity of St John’s Uniting Church in Wahroonga, the Dish café continues to provide much needed services, as demand goes up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rev. Suzanne Stanton is Minister of the Word at St John’s Uniting Church in Wahroonga. She told Insights that the Dish’s service is now needed more than ever.

The initiative began during the tenure of a previous minister, Rev. Stanton explained, “and has evolved ever since then. 

“Now it runs two nights a week  – on Tuesday night it’s predominantly School groups that run it. On Friday nights it’s now run on a roster of local churches, as well as some other organisations and groups like the Sydney Adventist Hospital and the Soroptimists.”

“About twenty different groups participate.”

With COVID-19 taking hold and people losing work, the service has seen an increase in numbers. According to Rev. Stanton, the service is now providing other food and assistance as well as the hot meal that is usually provided.

“We need to operate in the same way as cafés and restaurants, and have had to make major changes to how we operate to meet COVID requirements,” Rev. Stanton said.

Leisa Liddelow coordinates the service.

“A lot of our volunteers are in vulnerable categories so they have had to stay away, so that’s meant an even bigger role for Leisa,” Rev. Stanton said.

“I didn’t use to attend the service that often (because there were other things I needed to be at) but I am now!”

“Leisa and I spoke early about the need to keep The Dish running through the lockdown and it has been open as usual, although in a different location.”

“Everything goes out as takeaways now. Leisa has sourced additional food through local supermarkets, greengrocers and bakeries. In addition to the hot meal, which we package up in brown bags, we are giving out increasing amounts of other groceries.”

Rev. Stanton indicated that the Dish’s Facebook page and microsite are currently under development.

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