With all the distress currently happening in the world, it’s good to know that a sense of community is still very much alive in the south eastern suburb of Chelsea.
Along with about forty volunteers, Reverend Judith Turnham opens the doors of Chelsea Community Church of Christ every Wednesday offering a free breakfast, access to the pantry, laundry, showers and haircuts to those who in need.
10 years ago the church initially started with a ‘men’s shed’. The idea was to give men, who may not have the opportunity, a chance to work and learn skills that could lead to employment.
After the success of the men’s shed, the church decided to start bringing in new projects to help the community. The breakfast followed, along with the pantry, the women’s shed, the showers, the haircuts and just last week, they started offering laundry.
Rev. Turnham has been running the church for the last 4 years and said that the breakfast is a great chance to those in the community to make friends.
“It’s not so much about food, it’s about community”.
And that’s certainly evident in the church as you are immediately greeted with warmth and kindness along with the eggs and bacon.
The breakfast itself isn’t basic. A menu is provided so visitors can chose what they would like to have, options include cereals and fruit to start and then a hot breakfast with eggs (how you like them), bacon, hash browns, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms and toast. And all that with a cup of tea, coffee or juice to wash it down.
The success of the breakfast shows in the how many people attend, Judith said they can get up to 350 people pass through the church each week and about 80 of those just come for the incredible breakfast.
One of the most heart-warming aspects of this community is that some of the volunteers initially reached out to the church as they themselves were in need which then lead to them offering their time as a thank you.
A woman who experienced some tough times started coming to the church as someone in need but once she got back on her feet, she offered up her skills as a hairdresser as a free service.
More than one person in the church spoke of how non-judgmental they are. Volunteers and those involved come from all walks of life and the church doesn’t discriminate.
And with so many places closing throughout the inner city, more and more are coming to the church to find some support.
“People come from as far as Carrum, Frankston, Cranbourne, Endeavour Hills and Moorabin”.
“We’re there for the community and that’s where my passion is” said Turnham