Lismore Soup Kitchen patron Tim Costello, speaks at the 20th anniversary dinner of the Lismore Soup Kitchen on Saturday night.
Lismore Soup Kitchen patron Tim Costello, speaks at the 20th anniversary dinner of the Lismore Soup Kitchen on Saturday night. Marc Stapelberg

Soup Kitchen's milestone

MORE than 100 well wishers gathered at Lismore’s Winsome Hotel on Saturday night to mark the 20th anniversary of the Soup Kitchen.

The kitchen’s patron Tim Costello was on hand to mark the event, along with local politicians Janelle Saffin and Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell, with Lismore MP Thomas George sending his apologies.

“It was a terrific night,” said the kitchen’s chief executive Ridley Bell.

“We raised $8200 and had 108 people who paid to come, plus all our volunteers who cooked the meals and waitered.”

Hosted in the relatively palatial Winsome Dining Room, it was a far cry from the early days when the kitchen was little more than a tin shed that was eventually surrounded by tents as people came looking for sanctuary.

Established to feed the area’s homeless and destitute in 1990, it has also been providing shelter since 1993.

Mr Ridley and his wife Meike became involved 19 years ago when they became volunteers.

“We turned up at this tin shed and someone just told us to start serving,” he recalled yesterday.

“It’s been a lovely part of our lives for the last 19 years.”

Mr Ridely said while the Kitchen has always had the money to put food on the table, he added this was because of the generous support of community groups.

“In 1992 Sunnybrand Chickens at Byron Bay started giving us a box of chickens every week, and they have never missed one,” Mr Ridley said.

He said with the move to the Winsome, the Kitchen was thinking about offering more programs and encouraged people to get involved.



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