By Brendan Rees
Beata Stednik says it breaks her heart to see families living on bread and two-minute noodles to get by from week-to-week.
As the team leader of Casey ADRA Casey Café which she runs at her Narre Warren home, Ms Stednik sees firsthand the struggles people are experiencing as a result of the Covid-19.
“The need is huge,” Stednik said, who likes to go by her nickname BB.
“We need to work together to help those that are in crisis before it is too late.”
Volunteers from the local Adventist church and the community cook more than 2000 meals a week, but due to demand BB’s double garage, carport and a spare room, which she has converted into food storage areas, is fast “running out space”.
BB said Casey ADRA café has had to devise creative new ways to adhere to the social distancing while distributing food, but it means they can no longer cook barbecues or provide hot meals.
“Instead, we have sought to pre-cooked grab-and-go meals.”
She said the cost of driving to deliver food to the vulnerable, purchase takeaway containers, gloves and masks for volunteers, as well as cooking utensils to cater to the expanded need, had spiked their expenditure over the past four months.
“Little things like collecting bread from a bakery once a week gives us an opportunity to take a breather and work on other things behind the scene. And believe me there’s work all the time.”
To keep up with demand, BB also has two commercial fridges and freezes, three large chest freezers, as well as a cool room which was kindly donated by SS Hire.
Her team of volunteers are also distributing food parcels and essentials to over 150 families.Volunteers collect leftover fresh produce from six Coles supermarkets each morning and by the weekend, they begin cooking for the elderly for the Sunday meal program.
This is on top of preparing 150 food hampers each week for families in need.
“It breaks my heart to see clients cry with joy when we drop off food parcels,” BB said.
“We have pickups available and will be happy to collect from you any time of the day, if needed.”
People may also collect cooked meals at the Narre Warren Mechanics Institute (59 Webb Street, Narre Warren) every Sunday from 4pm.
For further information email email@example.com or call: 0425 747 866 or visit the Facebook page: http://facebook.com/ADRACommunityCafe.