Hot Food Kitchen

Volunteers at the Catholic Food Kitchen, St David Lewis and St Francis Xavier Church Hall in Porthycarne Street have cooked and delivered more than 6,000 hot meals, free of charge, over the last 17 months. The Food Kitchen was visited recently by Peredur Owen Griffiths MS, who congratulated the volunteers on their significant and valuable work in helping others in the community. Volunteers were also presented with an award from the Archbishop of Cardiff, George Stack, in recognition of outstanding voluntary service.

The Food Kitchen was started by Gloria and Peter Dolan early in the pandemic to help local people in need due to, for example, financial distress, unemployment, illness, disability or homelessness. Requests for meals come from a variety of sources. Relatives living away and local neighbours often ask for support for loved ones or friends who find cooking for themselves very difficult. People convalescing after hospital stays or if their main carer is ill are readily supported by the Food Kitchen as are people in financial difficulty.

The tasty and filling meals, which always include a vegetarian option and cater for special dietary requirements, are delivered to customers with a cheery smile. Volunteers complete a L2 certificate in food hygiene and catering safety to ensure meals are well-produce. Two volunteers are trained in first aid and session leads have taken supervisory qualifications. All of these qualifications and the dedication of volunteers result in kitchen sessions running smoothly and happily.

Customers are visited at other times to see how they are getting on and to have a friendly chat. Anyone who is unexpectedly not at home when meals are delivered is followed-up to check they are alright.

Local ladies bake delicious homemade cakes which are included with the meals as dessert. The Food Kitchen is kindly supported financially by the Archdiocese of Cardiff, a number of local charities and individuals. It has recently received almost £10,000 from the National Lottery.

As time passed it became clear that loneliness is experienced by many customers, even in such a lovely place as Usk. In order to reduce loneliness the National Lottery award will be used to improve the church hall facilities. Customers will be invited to have lunch with others at the hall, from November, rather than eating alone. Lunch can be followed by social afternoons including playing cards, board games, just having a chat, help with IT or watching films.

We are looking for volunteers to help run the afternoon sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please contact Gloria to find out more details on 07429 023 559.