30 years ago, when people in the King’s Cross area were feeling lonely, the tradition that would eventually lead to the founding of Canice’s Kitchen was born. Once a week, on Sunday, people would gather together to eat and socialise so they didn’t have to eat alone. Canice’s kitchen has come a long way since then, but they still maintain the same goal: providing food and a friendly environment for those in need.
Clarice’s kitchen is no longer a once-a-week Sunday dinner, but instead a daily service to give a bit of assistance to individuals who are currently struggling with homelessness or social exclusion.
Unfortunately, the Covid outbreak made it so their cafes and dining areas were a bit less bustling and busy than they once were. They often had over 400 volunteers helping out at a time, and we couldn’t be more thankful for their efforts. The goal was not only to provide food for those in need, but also to give them a place to share stories, meet new people, and have a laugh.
A Volunteer Kitchen During Covid
Then everything changed in the springtime of 2020 when the hashtag “everythingfromthegate” was created. Hundreds of amazing volunteers donated time and hard work, transforming their homes into remote kitchens around the area. Soon their entire system was converted into a Covid-safe service.
One of the changes they made to offer Covid-safe services was creating a Street Coffee Shop. Formerly a run-down hole-in-the-wall type building, they transformed it into a wonderful place where people could come to grab a cup of coffee, talk with each other, and get the socialisation that so many were missing out on.
This Street Coffee Shop was intended as a temporary solution to the Covid issue, but it didn’t stay that way. Instead, people flocked to it and it quickly became one of their most popular services. It became so popular, in fact, that they decided to keep it running and now serve well over 300 cups a day.
Over Whatsapp, their team leaders rallied morale and raised everyone’s spirits. Although Covid was a tough time for a lot of people’s mental health, they made sure that they did everything they could to cheer people up during those tough times.
From April 2020 to January 2021, Canice’s Kitchen delivered nearly 200,000 food items to the community so that even during a pandemic they could stop as many people as possible from being left hungry and alone. Although they were no longer able to perform their operations on-site, they still kept at it.
Growing Back Even Stronger
Then, in February of this year (2022), they were finally able to reopen the doors to their on-site locations once again, only they’ve made a few changes. They no longer function only as a kitchen for people to come to when they’re in need of a meal but instead have branched out their operations to offer a variety of services to those in need.
Canice’s kitchen now offers weekly access to legal, health, and employment facilities, as well as daily access to showers (complete with toiletries), and access to brand new clothes. Their community support program is especially sought after, which provides training about how to seek employment for those who are unable or unaware of how to do so.
Canice’s Kitchen never stops looking for new ways to help their community when it struggles, and they’re now one of the biggest volunteer kitchens in the Sydney area. While they provide all of these services for free, that doesn’t mean that it comes without cost for them. In order for charities like Canice’s Kitchen to stay operational, they rely at least in part on volunteer work and donations from community members who are able. They work hard to make a difference not only by providing food but by providing a plethora of resources to those in need- including access to St. Vincent’s Homeless Health.
More Than Just a Volunteer Kitchen: A Network of Support and Care
St. Vincent’s Homeless Health provides vital care by healthcare specialists to the homeless population of the Sydney area. Their COMET program (Community Outreach Medical Emergency Team) offers primary healthcare clinics for people suffering from homelessness that don’t have access to any other forms of healthcare.
Donations don’t just have to come from individuals in the community, though, and they don’t have to be in the form of money. Organisations can help support Canice’s Kitchen by donating items, so that they can save on the cost.
For example, Lotus Commercial helps by providing them with the commercial equipment they need, like filter exchanges. And, since we’re Australia’s leading commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning company, we happily donate whatever services we can to make sure their kitchen can keep operating in top condition.
Lotus Commercial has highly-trained, dedicated employees that have been carefully selected to ensure that we can provide consistently high-quality services to organisations like Canice’s Kitchen. Commercial kitchens have a lot of responsibilities, and we aim to make it as easy as possible for Canice’s Kitchen to meet Australian health and safety standards.
Every Donation Can Make a Difference
When it comes to donating to community help programs like Canice’s Kitchen, every little bit helps. Whether you’re donating supplies, services and money, or taking time out of your day to volunteer, it all adds up to make a difference that lasts.
For further information about how to donate to Canice’s Kitchen or volunteer your time to help out in person, you can visit their website caniceskitchen.org. They also host community events from time to time, which you can check in on via their events page (click here), or by signing up for their routine newsletter.