The Community Kitchen Team

February 1st marked the opening of Westport’s Community Kitchen, where hot meals were provided to flood affected residents. This week in its 4th week of service, we caught up with the team behind the Community Kitchen and some local residents enjoying the healthy meals provided.

The weekly hot dinner service has been warmly welcomed and much appreciated, with numbers of those registered increasing over the past month. 

On the first night of service there were 37 people in total that meals were provided for, 20 of which dined in at the RSA, 8 for pickup, and 9 delivered. In the second week there were 29, made up of 11 dining in, 11 pickups, and 7 deliveries. In the third week of operation we saw  that number almost double with 59 hot meals provided, 17 people sharing in the communal setting of the RSA, 26 pickups, and 16 deliveries. 

This week we saw another substantial increase in the number of people opting in with a total of 82 meals going out, 21 diners at the RSA, 36 pickups and 25 deliveries.

Karen Leslie with her foster children: Frank, Karma and Blade

Some recipients of the hot meal delivery service have kindly offered some feedback, here’s what they had to say:

“Cooking is an unbelievable nightmare, with contents of the home unorganised, some in storage, and lack of regular household cooking facilities due to the ongoing rebuild process. The impact also has an effect on mental wellbeing, with experiencing PTSD symptoms of confusion and distress in being forced to accept a new way of improvised living. For example, having to relearn cooking techniques to improvise for a lack of everyday comforts and amenities that we were used to and didn’t even have to think about prior to the flood event. I now look forward to Tuesdays, waking up in the morning knowing that I don’t have to cook that day, it’s a relief and I really appreciate the hot delicious meals.” – comment from a flood affected resident who receives delivered meals weekly (wishes to remain anonymous).

“Very good meals and service, it helps a lot.” – Kevin Fibbs

“It’s lovely not having to think about tea” – Christine

Dawn – “Great to be getting help.”

Ruth Naylor & Evelin Nixon at the RSA

The Community Kitchen staff consists of 1 Chef, 4 volunteer kitchen hands and 1 delivery driver at this stage.  We are seeking another 1 or 2 delivery drivers to accommodate the increasing demand and ensure that people are receiving their meals in a timely manner for dinner. If you are interested in volunteering to help out with deliveries, please contact