Every Tuesday evening in the hall under St Joseph’s church in New Plymouth, the St Vincent de Paul Society in New Plymouth serves a delicious three-course meal to anyone in need of a nutritious meal and some good company. The meals are free and numbers of diners vary from 25 to 50. Usually there is a pianist playing, helping to set a great atmosphere.
The community meal, which is now in its sixth year, is a triumph of caring in action. There is a team of 47 volunteer cooks, with nine people rostered to cook each week. The cooks deliver their part of the meal to the venue just before starting time at 5.30pm. A team of St Vincent de Paul members and volunteers serve the meal and clean up afterwards.
A three-course meal is on offer – soup, a main and dessert. Meals are also boxed up and volunteers take them to people in the community who are unable to attend. Currently, because of Covid-19 restrictions, all meals are takeaway.
The community meal is generously supported by St Joseph’s Parish, The TSB Community Trust, the local Rotary Club, donations and St Vincent de Paul fundraising. Each year, students from Francis Douglas Memorial College and Sacred Heart Girls College help stocktake at The Warehouse and donate the money to St Vincent de Paul. The project also receives bulk donations of meat from corporate manufacturers.