Open Door getting back on track

Hot showers are running, the kitchen aromas are again magnificent and Singleton’s Open Door is putting smiles back on the faces of those who need them most.

Singleton Neighbourhood Centre coordinator Judy Mitchell is planning Open Door Bingo on August 4, a free event which aims to get people out of isolation and back into the welcoming arms of Open Door.  This event will be held from 11am to 12:30pm and those wanting to attend are advised to book by calling 6571 2499 because numbers will be limited to adhere to covid restrictions.

During the past year, even with a covid shutdown, the Open Door served up 400 meals compared to the 230 served the previous year giving volunteers assurance that the service is very much needed.

Mrs Mitchell is extremely thankful to the volunteers but quickly added that the service wouldn’t be as successful without corporate help.

“We receive donations of food from Coles through their second bite program and Woollies gives us donations through their food recovery program where we get a lot of their frozen meat and canned items and Aldi also helps us,” Mrs Mitchell said.

Big W also provide Open Door with a good stock of clothing, all new, which is provided free to Open Door visitors.

Then there is the assistance of the local community and mining companies, Glencore, Glendell, Bloomfield and Integra.

Mrs Mitchell knows the assistance is very much needed; you only have to consider the statistics.

Last year they helped people 48,000 times.

“We assisted 400 homeless people on a number of occasions, some are transients moving through town but there has been a considerable increase in the number of teenagers needing assistance,” she said.

Thanks to Glencore sponsorship, they provided 16,000 breakfasts through their school program in the last financial year.

A number of services are also offered through the Neighbourhood Centre and Mrs Mitchell is pleased to see them returning.

“Upper Hunter Homeless is back and a new service, Justice Advocacy Services, which helps those with an intellectual disability work their way through the legal system is starting,” she said.

Other activities such as the Art Therapy program will also return soon.

They have also started to do some outreach work in the district and a recent visit to Jerrys Plains to support drought affected farmers was so well received, they plan on expanding this program.

“We took hampers out to the school mainly to assist elderly residents and there were tears, it was incredible really,” Mrs Mitchell said.

She says there is a sense that people have forgotten about the drought and the impact it is having on those living on the land.

Earlier this month, with the help of Lions Club of Singleton, they delivered 20,000 litres of water to a resident at Putty.

“She came in here to fill up containers and when we found out about her situation, Lions came to her assistance,” she said.

Open Door and Singleton Neighbourhood Centre is located in Mary Street, Singleton.  It is open from 9am for breakfast and hot meals are served from 10am to 12noon.

Don’t forget about the Bingo and there is also the Community Dinner on August 19 with two sittings.  The first from 5pm to 6pm is for families with children and the second sitting, from 6:15pm is for adults.

Again, numbers are limited so it is important to book by calling 6571 2499.

Caption:  Susie Martin, Renia Woodard and Loretta Bird are volunteers at the Open Door and cook up a storm Monday to Thursday with free meals available.