Soup kitchen needs new oven

Gatton Seventh-day Adventist Church's Grace Uljarevic and Dayne Habermann are in need of a new commercial oven to continue their Kitchen Connection ministry. Picture: GRACE CRICHTON

A Gatton charity is seeking support to replace vital kitchen equipment so they can continue providing meals to those in need.

Gatton Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Kitchen Connection ministry provides free meals on Monday nights, but their commercial oven is on its last legs.

Pastor Dayne Habermann said they were reaching out the community to source a second-hand replacement, or gauge interest in donations to purchase a new system.

“If there’s a local kitchen, restaurant, business, that are wanting to upgrade their equipment and they’re wanting to get rid of the stove, that would be great,” he said.

“Maybe there’s local businesses or some philanthropist in the community who sees the work that Lou and Grace and the Kitchen Connect ministry does.

“If they’re willing to give some kind of donation toward that, that would also be appreciated.

“We’re open to a discussion around what works for people and businesses and their circumstances.”

Grace and Lou Uljarevic run the Kitchen Connection ministry and, with their team of volunteers, serve up 100 meals a night on average.

“The purpose was to offer free meals to people who were homeless or struggling,” Mrs Uljarevic said.

The ministry started eight years ago and Mrs Uljarevic has seen many more people seeking support recently.

“Not just for a free meal, but there are people who need the facilities, to be able to shower or wash their clothes,” she said.

“We don’t ask any questions.

“It doesn’t matter what their circumstances are.”

The eight-burner stove and oven unit was purchased second-hand six or seven years ago.

The oven and one of the burners no longer works and, although they have a temporary work around, a replacement is vital to the ministry continuing its outreach.

“We want to continue to serve the community in this capacity in particular because it’s obvious there’s a need and we want to be able to continue to meet that need,” Pr Habermann said.

“We really need eight burners because, as you can appreciate, to feed 100 people minimum it’s not just one or two pots, it’s multiple.

“It needs to be a commercial grade so it can fuel or heat the size pots that we have.”

The North St premises operates as a community centre and other groups also use the commercial kitchen for their own programs.

Many of the volunteers are from the wider community, as well as members of the church.

“It’s not just our church members but we do have people coming from the community coming in too,” Pr Habermann said.

“It’s the community working together to serve the community.”

They are also exploring their options for grants to replace the equipment.

“We’re putting all the options on the table and seeing what can come,” Pr Habermann said.

Contact Pr Habermann on daynehabermann@adventist.org.au or 0404754711.