CELEBRATE: The Winsome Hotel celebrated 10 years of their Soup Kitchen on Wednesday.
CELEBRATE: The Winsome Hotel celebrated 10 years of their Soup Kitchen on Wednesday. Chyna Hayden

Decade of dedication: Winsome Hotel celebrates milestone

THE Winsome Hotel comes with a colourful history, but it is the last 10 years that have had the greatest impact on the Lismore community.

Since the Lismore Soup Kitchen took over the establishment a decade ago, a warm, nutritious meal has been served everyday to its patrons, with anywhere between 75 to 100 people walking through the doors on any one occasion.

On Wednesday, The Winsome celebrated this milestone alongside the community that continues to support the service.

"I have nothing but admiration for this place...and love,” former volunteer Katherine Garrard said.

Despite having four children, Ms Garrard said The Winsome was like another family.

"This is a great place for when you're lonely; there's always someone that will help you out.”

The not-for-profit organisation is operated by the kindness of volunteers; some of whom have been associated with the Lismore Soup Kitchen for nearly thirty years.

The Winsome's accommodation manager, Mieke Bell, said she was incredibly grateful for the Lismore community.

"The Winsome, to me, is a model for a community, our community, responding to issues upon us,” she explained.

"There is no 'I' in team, and everyone that comes here and volunteers here in whatever capacity is as important as the next person, so a big shout out to all our volunteers.”

Set up five years ago, the hotel and soup kitchen's main fundraiser, The Winsome 500 Club, is where people can go to donate to the organisation, which isn't government funded.

"The Winsome 500 Club is a way people can support us to continue to do this work,” she explained.

"I like to feel that we are part of the Lismore community, and they are part of us.”

With speeches, a cake and a performance from The Healing Voices Choir, the celebration brought together an integral part of the Lismore community, and reiterated the importance of kindness.

"(I have people say to me) 'you were there when I needed you; I've now got a job; I've got a bond; I've got married; I'm cooking for myself',” Mieke said.

"So people, I believe, are empowered in coming here.”



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