“Before I found Canice’s, I was eating out of rubbish bins. This place has restored my faith in human kindness”
*Janice, Guest of Canice’s Kitchen, July 2021
Human kindness! That’s exactly what we have witnessed over the past 12 months at St Canice. Through yet another turbulent year, where we have had to pivot at a moment’s notice, the generosity and accompaniment shown by our Kitchen teams has been simply incredible.
As the 2021 lockdown hit, we again mobilised our volunteers using our proven virtual-kitchen model. Hundreds of homes across Sydney were turned into mini commercial kitchens, daily producing nutritious meals delivered to our gates. Our onsite team, again suited up in PPE, began the tasks of ensuring our community stayed connected, supported, and cared for in these turbulent times.
We kept our legal and health teams operating, and added daily kindness calls from our Life Coach, via mobile phone. This provided a grounding moment each week for a number of guests, connecting them to us despite our gates being shut.
The meals kept coming and the numbers grew. As every day more Australians felt the impact of a second lockdown, we responded to the increased need for crisis support. Our legal service went from monthly to weekly, and we opened an on-site vaccination hub to ensure access for those who most needed them.
In June, a formal acknowledgement by Alex Greenwich MP in the Legislative Assembly congratulated us on our impressive COVID response. He commended the 190,000 items of food produced in volunteers’ homes and recognised our holistic approach to serving vulnerable community members.
Now, we are grateful to have our gates open once more, our volunteers back onsite, and our meal service offered at the tables. Our coffee shop continues to do a roaring (free) trade. Our COVID processes have remained tight, with security, COVID cleaning and strict QR coding.
Canice’s Kitchen remains almost entirely volunteer-run. We have just three part-time staff employed to operate our service, with a volunteer tribe of nearly 400 supporting them. Spiritually, we are fortunate to have the very experienced Fr Dave Ryan SJ around the Kitchen. He has for many years worked with indigenous Australians in the NT and with those who had lived on the streets around Melbourne.
It’s been another year like no other, filled with extraordinary stories of survival and resilience. As we enter Advent and prepare for Christmas, we are planning for the year ahead. We are asking our Parish to continue recognising the face of Christ in the needy among us, and support the outreach of Canice’s Kitchen with a personal gift. Your gift will directly ensure that a safe place for our street community is always here, with services that give them the opportunity to create a new path.
Rev. Paul Fyfe SJ, Parish Priest
Help us keep the services strong and relevant for men and women experiencing homelessness. Your donation will change a life!
All donations are 100% tax deductible.