Community commitment top of the menu for dedicated volunteers
14 March 2023 Hits:0
JOHN Tetteroo could have opted for plenty of other hobbies in retirement. Golf was certainly on the cards. But he says not even a satisfying drive straight down a sunny fairway is quite as rewarding as his voluntary work at Matt’s Place.
For more than 16 years, he’s been numbered among the dedicated crew who help prepare and plate up meals as part of the vital bayside Melbourne community meal program.
Each week he witnesses the difference it’s making in people’s lives.
“We try to do something different every week,” Mr Tettero said. “Sometimes it’s roast chicken or casseroles. If we get a supply of mince then we will do a bolognese with spaghetti – that’s always a favourite.”
Mr Tetteroo said the steady increase in patronage since the height of the pandemic illustrated the ongoing need in the community.
“It’s more than just food,” he said. “People come for the social interaction and connection. We are helping predominantly single people but occasionally young families who might be struggling financially, could even be homeless or just in need of a boost.
“It’s humbling as a
volunteer to see how something as simple as a decent meal and a chat can build positivity into somebody’s life.
Matt’s Place was first established by the Kingston Interchurch Council after a local need was identified. It is now managed by Bayside Community Care, the benevolent arm of Melbourne’s Bayside Church.
General manager Sandra Cavallo said the service had never been more important.
Last year Matt’s Place volunteers served up 17,000 meals to more than 6200 people in need.
“For many families and individuals, accessing healthy and nutritious food is a constant challenge – this is more evident as we grapple with the rising cost of living,” Ms Cavallo said.
“Matt’s Place remains an outlet for those people who may never have imagined they might need a helping hand. Our doors are always open.”
Mr Tetteroo said the service was just as important to the many volunteers who chipped in week after week.
“The way I see it, if you want something to do you might as well do something that helps people – if you see a need, you can hop in and do it.”
Matt’s Place opens at St Chad’s Anglican Church at Chelsea every Tuesday and St Matthew’s Anglican Church at Cheltenham every Thursday.
For more information about the support available or how to volunteer, phone 03 9585 2455 or click here.