Niki Knight [Laser Plumbing], Emma Wrightson, Selina Griggs [Smiths City], Miri Callister [CE & R Ltd] and Bev Jack around the new oven delivered to Wairarapa Community Kitchen. PHOTO/BRENT GARE

JOHN LAZO-RON
john.lazo-ron@age.co.nz

A call from the Wairarapa Community Kitchen for more cooking facilities to help meet demand for meals was met on Tuesday when a brand new oven was delivered to their front door.

The community kitchen supplied 444 meals in March 2020. This March it supplied 877 meals. In April, 2020 it supplied 247 meals. This April, it had already supplied 550 meals, a trend that is expected to continue this year.

The need for the oven was first noted on a visit by Masterton District councillors who donated out of their own pocket to the community organisation.

Councillor Brent Gare, who presented the donation, said the need for more facilities was evident given the demand the community kitchen was facing at the time.

“Something needed to be done,” Gare said.

“There is a need in the region many are unaware of. While the local economy might be doing well, not everyone is.”

A couple of emails and phone calls later, Gare teamed up with Smiths City to provide a brand new Beko multicooker [valued at $4500] for the kitchen.

News of the new oven left manager Bev Jack shocked.

“Brent called me while I was on leave to say he had some good news,” she said.

“I was just amazed. The generosity from our community never ceases to amaze me.”

But the generosity didn’t end there.

Masterton businesses Laser Plumbing and CE & R Electrical also donated their time and expertise to set the oven in place, rounding out the community collaboration.

“I’m just really overjoyed by this,” Jack said.

“It’s just amazing how businesses within our community have come together to make this happen.”

Smith’s City manager Selina Griggs said donating the oven was a “no-brainer” because it was vital to helping people in need.

“It’s great to be in a position along with our partners Beko, to be able to help,” she said.

“This will benefit the entire region.”

With close to 100 volunteers from across Wairarapa coming in three times a week to help prepare meals, Jack said the extra oven would reduce the volunteers’ time and stress.

“Volunteers had to wait for the oven to cook the dishes before they could put the next lot of dishes in, so it was a slow process at times,” she said.

“This is definitely going to speed that process up for the volunteers and has made our job so much easier.

“Thank you to everyone from the volunteers, to the businesses, to Brent, for making this happen.”



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