When COVID-19 struck early in 2020 Jules Mitry at Balinese Spice Magic wanted to help homeless people in the Illawarra community by preparing meals and taking it to them.
She was told social distancing restrictions wouldn't allow that so she helped Scott Mileto and others make and deliver 800 vegan meals a week for the Good Will Only initiative.
The meals were delivered to the Wollongong Homeless Hub, Bellambi Neighbourhood Centre and Age Matters during the height of the coronavirus lockdown and for people in need leading into winter.
Since then Mrs Mitry has been looking for other ways to help and hosted a Mesangkepan dinner at the Balinese eatery on her birthday in July and raised $5000 for an Illawarra Women's Health Centre mental health support initiative.
The second Mesangkepan soup kitchen is planned for October 11 with hourly sittings from 4pm to 9pm to support Southern Youth and Family Services.
Mrs Mitry loves how SYFS runs programs designed to improve the quality of life for vulnerable and disadvantaged youth and those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the region.
The dinner is free for people to book and they can make a donation or pay as they feel on the night with all proceeds going to SYFS. Homeless people are also invited to come to the dinner and eat at no cost.
When Mrs Mitry called out for volunteers to help she had more than 60 people respond. Those with qualifications will work in the kitchen and others will help prepare and or wait on tables during the five hour event that can accommodate 40 people at a time with social distancing.
SYFS's Belinda Manevski and Jason Saladino said funds raised will got towards education training programs.
"Some of our programs are only partially funded so this will assist us help young people look for work and provide anything they need for training and gaining qualifications. We even supply things like interview clothing, stationary, school bags, footwear and laptops," Mrs Manevski said.
Mrs Manevski said SYFS clients such as Mikayla McWhirter and Dylan Clegg were very talented and had so much potential and skill.
"Sometimes they just need support with housing or projects like this for them to reach their goals. It gives them hope," she said.
Mr Clegg has just completed Certificate II in Cafe Skills and wants to become a chef and run his own restaurant.
SYFS has run four short courses in its social enterprise cafe at Warilla that has helped Mr Clegg and others gain such skills.
He said what Mrs Mitry was doing with the support of the community showed people care and that is encouragement for him to pursue his dreams.
"Cooking is not a job for me. It is a passion," he said.
Ms McWhirter is studying law at university and said the training SYFS provided helped her secure casual work outside uni.
Mr Saladino said when he heard about the Mesangkepan concept he contacted Mrs Mitry who was looking for a local charity to support with the next dinner.
Businesses have already helped by donating goods, services and money.
Mr Saladino said any support SYFS receives helps young people who are even more vulnerable during COVID-19, especially now JobSeeker is starting to be scaled back.
Mrs Mitry said she loved feeding people, helping people and sharing her Balinese culture and cuisine. And she loves giving the community a way to support local youth.
"I was one of the lucky ones who got help when I was young. And I want other people have similar opportunities," she said.
"Some people have called me to say they want to make a donation even though they can't attend the dinner."
Mrs Mitry said Australians can't go to Bali at the moment but she is delighted to be able to bring traditional Balinese food to them.
Wollongong MP Paul Scully is among the 80 people who have already booked to attend Balinese Spice Magic on October 11.