There’s a well known saying that goes “the kitchen is the heart of the home”, and this certainly rings true at Regis Legana.
Recently, the staff and residents were thinking about ways to pay it forward to their local community. A shared love of cooking gave rise to their new Cooking for People Experiencing Homelessness program, which is the first of its kind in Australian residential care. Monday is now the most anticipated day of the week in the home, with a crew of 20 residents coming together to prepare delicious homemade meals alongside employees. The meals are then handed to local charity group, Strike It Out Launceston, who distribute food to people in need.
Importantly, the initiative has been steered by the residents, which has forged a deeper connection with the program. Residents have chosen to use their own favourite recipes, which has in turn prompted them to reminisce about years gone by and share happy memories of cooking with the family at home. Each week, the tasty and nutritious dishes are lovingly prepared and delivered to those less fortunate, together with warm community wishes. Reflecting on their involvement in the program, residents Barbara Barrett and Betty West say they’re glad to have the opportunity to support others in need. “It makes me feel good helping those less fortunate”, says Betty. “It means a great deal to me to be able to give to someone doing it tough, and I think it will help them a lot to have a good hearty meal to warm them up”, replies Barbara. Betty’s home-style pasta bake and bread & butter pudding have already been delivered to the community, and Barbara’s homemade soup is on the upcoming menu. This week, the team prepared curried sausages and rice, pumpkin soup, and apple crumble with cream.
Asked about the impact of the program, General Manager Shaun Sciberras says it has been nothing short of remarkable. “There is an electric atmosphere when everyone comes together to cook on Monday morning. Our residents have so many recipes that they want to share, and there is a real feeling of joy being able to help people experiencing homelessness,” he says. This joy has gained momentum, with Regis Legana since starting other projects to support the community. Smaller fundraisers, including casual clothes days for employees and a bake sale in July, have been established to raise money to buy swags for people sleeping rough.
With no signs of slowing down, Regis Legana’s Cooking for People Experiencing Homelessness program is currently being considered at other homes, given its clear and wide-reaching benefits. Participants of the program have talked with each other and their families about what it has meant to them to be involved. “In addition to supporting our local community, the program has had significant meaning for both our residents and staff”, Shaun recognises. “We are just so pleased to be able to channel our passion for cooking in a way that makes a small difference to those who need it most”, he says.
To find out more about Regis Legana, pop in and visit us today or call 1300 998 100 for a friendly chat.