Maitland City Council has allocated $50,000 to the Maitland Neighbourhood Centre to ensure every mouth is fed across the Hunter.
It’s also established a Food Assistance Network to deliver meals to those in need.
Maitland Neighbourhood Centre Manager, Sarah Adams, tells Newcastle Weekly it’s gone from feeding 50 people, to preparing 350 meals per week.
“With COVID-19 a lot of the elderly are not able to get out or are too scared to, so they have stopped eating,” she says.
Staff have been in the kitchen cooking four days per week to satisfy demand.
“We’re seeing a lot of people who have lost income due to COVID-19, people who were working three casual jobs and now have nothing and those who have been homeschooling their kids for a whole day, the last thing they feel like is cooking a meal.”
On the menu, a lot of home-cooked favourites.
“We are rotating the meals we cook, like curried sausages, pasta bake and chicken stir fry,” she says.
“We’re just making sure we are looking after those vulnerable people in our community.”
Maitland Mayor Loretta Baker says now more than ever, the community needs to know services like the neighbourhood centre are at hand.
“It’s been a difficult time for so many people in our community and many have not needed to utilise these services before, so it’s vital that they know what is available and actively come forward to access this assistance,” she says.
The council has established a community noticeboard on its website, providing information on food relief services operating in Maitland.
You can access the community noticeboard here.