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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 9949

Mr MITCHELL (McEwenSecond Deputy Speaker) (13:33): Two weeks ago I attended the first birthday celebration of the Rotary Club of Sunbury's Community Family Kitchen. The Sunbury community kitchen was started by Marianne and Neil Williams in September 2013 with just 10 people. Now, one year later, the kitchen feeds more than 140 community members and has dozens of volunteers helping out. The program collaborates closely with the Rotary Club of Sunbury, the Salvation Army and Second Bite.

The Sunbury community kitchen has such a warm and social atmosphere, it is more than just a place to find a meal when you find yourself struggling with what life throws at you. The community spirit that Marianne, Neil and the team have gathered there is inspiring to everyone. Even some of the community members who have received meals at the kitchen have been inspired to give back to the community, including one particular patron who collected blankets and sleeping bags and personally delivered them to the homeless in the city of Melbourne. Marianne, Neil and several volunteers and patrons all shared stories with me about how the community kitchen has really brought people out of their shells, bringing a sense of community and family back into the lives of those who are doing it a bit tough. There was one young couple who were even celebrating the 80th wedding anniversary at the community kitchen with their daughter.

I want to commend Marianne and Neil for starting this fantastic initiative in our community of Sunbury. I also want to express my sincere gratitude to the dozens of volunteers who make the community kitchen what it is today. I look forward to supporting and working with the team at the Rotary Club of Sunbury Community Family Kitchen for many years to come. Again, happy birthday!