DINNER ON US: Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond members Lee Soutar, Shane Cullinane and Wayne Crawford help prepare for the club’s first free dinner service for those doing it tough.
DINNER ON US: Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond members Lee Soutar, Shane Cullinane and Wayne Crawford help prepare for the club’s first free dinner service for those doing it tough. Graham Broadhead

Rotary dishing up free hearty meals

THERE are many in the community who struggle to make ends meet - and that includes having enough money to buy food.

The Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond is keen to help those people.

Members this evening are holding a free dinner service at the Richmond Room in Regatta Ave from 6-8pm.

The free dinner was the idea of Rotarian Wayne Crawford, who said he'd long wanted to help those less fortunate in the community.

Mr Crawford said he spoke to various welfare organisations to assess the need for such a service and it was clear the free dinners would be well appreciated.

The dinner service will be held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.

For this month, a dinner will be served on December 23 - two days before Christmas.

Wayne said it was appropriate the dinner service began during the festive season as there were many in the community who not only struggled financially, but didn't have family living locally.

He said the December 23 meal would help provide some cheer at Christmas.

Ballina Shire Council is supporting the dinner service by providing the Richmond Room rent-free to the Rotarians on a 12-month trial.

The Ballina Hot Meal Centre, run by St Francis Xavier's Catholic Parish, offers free lunches on Tuesdays and Fridays at the Masonic Hall in Cherry St.

Co-ordinator Beatrice Gray has in the past said the need for that service was growing and the people who attended the lunch did not fit the stereotypes often associated with that kind of service.

People were seeking help for the first time due to increased living costs.



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