Homeless support service One Meal launches in Sutherland Shire

Lending a helping hand: One Meal volunteers Matt Harward and Kristy McCormack with celebrity chef Manu Feildel, who is one of the organisation's ambassadors.

Lending a helping hand: One Meal volunteers Matt Harward and Kristy McCormack with celebrity chef Manu Feildel, who is one of the organisation's ambassadors.

A new food service for the homeless has launched in Sutherland Shire, with the hope of reaching as many people in need as possible.

Friends Matt Harward, of Gymea, and Kristy McCormack, of Cronulla, started the local arm of One Meal – a non-profit community organisation that carries the motto ‘it makes a difference’.

Originally established at Campbelltown, and also operating at Darlinghurst, One Meal helps feed underprivileged individuals and their families.

Mr Haward got involved because he wanted to help others.

“I got divorced a couple of years ago, started drinking, and realised how easily one could end up an alcoholic,” he said.

“So I started looking for somewhere to volunteer, but struggled to find a place.

“A friend put me onto One Meal, and I started volunteering at Darlinghurst.”

He realised the Shire could benefit from the service.

“I thought, there’s not one of these happening in the Shire, aside from some held by the Uniting Church, but ones with an ulterior motive like religion can make people unsure,” he said.

“All we do is offer free food.”

Volunteers make a dish from home, such as a pasta, rice, meat, soup or muffins, which are served with coffee, tea, bottled water and a breakfast pack of milk, cereal and a muesli bar.

Mr Haward says the aim is to reach out to the homeless each Sunday from 4pm, at their Sutherland base – a car park opposite Boyle Street (751 Old Princes Highway).

“At the first service on one came, but at the second, we served five people,” he said.

“Everyone from teens to older people came along – the majority in their 40s.”

With the support of Sutherland Shire Council and Orana, the Shire service aims to expand its exposure in the region.

“We have about 100 volunteers lined up ready to go but getting the word and trust out to those in need is the hardest part,” Mr Harward said.

“We also have celebrity chefs involved, including Colin Fassnidge from My Kitchen Rules.

“His restaurant 4Fourteen donates a dish every week to the Darlinghurst service.”

Would you like to help? Email: volunteers@onemeal.org.au or see onemeal14 on Facebook.

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