Cooking for the community

Published on LCDR Paul Hayes (author), AB Matthew Murphy (photographer)

Location(s): Bondi, NSW

Members from the New Generation Navy, Sydney and Defence Community Organisation volunteering at 'Our Big Kitchen' in Bondi, Sydney. (photo: AB Matthew Murphy)
Members from the New Generation Navy, Sydney and Defence Community Organisation volunteering at 'Our Big Kitchen' in Bondi, Sydney.

Navy and Defence Community Organisation have strengthened relationships across and beyond Navy, by getting messy in the kitchen.
 
Our Big Kitchen is a community initiative designed to help people who are experiencing a hard time, need a hand getting started or deserve recognition and can accommodate up to 120 volunteers at a time.
 
Lieutenant Commander Paul Hayes who works in Navy's cultural change area, New Generation Navy, said the kitchen relied on donations of goods and services, including food and time by volunteers.
 
“It's all about bringing the community together for a good cause,” he said.
 
“Everyone has a stake in it, everyone can participate in it, and everyone can benefit from it.”
 
During the visit, the team prepared 200 meals for SWAG Ministries which provides homeless people with nutritious fresh food, and to help people living in disadvantaged and at-risk communities. Furthermore, a portion of the meals was delivered by the team to the Jewish House Crisis Centre in Bondi.
 
“The initiative was a fantastic way for the team to create a sense of cohesiveness and togetherness, bringing unity and allowing them to work as a team by preparing and cooking meals,” Lieutenant Commander Hayes said.
 
“The day was fun, interactive and provided an opportunity to learn about role sharing, contribution and the benefit of working together outside their normal environment.”
 
Ms Amelia Scanlan from Defence Community Organisation Sydney said it was very satisfying.
 
“I really enjoyed joining the Navy team and working together with a community organisation. It was a great day out and being new to Defence and seeing how its members contribute in the community was an excellent experience,” she said.