Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and House Manager Ronald McDonald House Newcastle, Kristen Grainger, pictured with Sheldon Brown and family, who are currently staying at Ronald McDonald House.

City of Newcastle cooks up much-needed support for local charities

In a case of waste not, want not’, City of Newcastle (CoN) is donating its unused commercial kitchen facilities to help local charities prepare healthy meals for families struggling to get by.

CoN’s kitchen facility at the Fort Scratchley Function Centre has been handed over to Catholic Care Social Services, where they will prepare 300 meals each week.

Also, Newcastle City Hall’s Executive Chef Mark Rusev is rolling up his sleeves and putting his culinary skills to great use by preparing meals that will be delivered to families at Ronald McDonald House.

With an increase in demand for such services during lockdown, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said she hoped the move to donate the City’s unused facilities would ease the burden on local charities.

“Many Newcastle families are experiencing financial difficulty and facing economic uncertainty as a result of the prolonged lockdown, placing immense strain on local charities,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Due to current restrictions, our facilities’ commercial kitchen spaces are temporarily not operating, so our Civic Services Venues and Catering team came up with an initiative to open their kitchens to support charities who have either had to scale up due to COVID-19, or have been adversely affected by the lockdown measures.”

Ronald McDonald House Community Engagement Officer Kerryn Scully said the support offered from CoN would help ease the stress on families staying at the house during lockdown.

“Families staying at Ronald McDonald House are finding it very difficult at the moment to simply pop down to the supermarket to purchase ingredients to prepare their own meals, as they need to remain extra vigilant to COVID-19 in order to protect their child undergoing vital treatment at John Hunter Children’s Hospital,” Kerryn said.

“We are so grateful to our generous community and the City of Newcastle team for their kind gesture to prepare and deliver quality meals prepared by Executive Chef Mark Rusev.

“Our beautiful families are doing it extremely tough at the moment and this is just one less problem they have to face, allowing them to focus on supporting their child.”