"An amazing gesture of hope" is how the manager of a Warrawong community service describes a $70,000 election promise towards a program feeding some of the region's most vulnerable residents.
Labor candidate for Wollongong and incumbent MP Paul Scully has pledged that his party will, if elected this weekend, provide the funding boost to the Warrawong Residents Forum's free lunch program.
Labor has also promised $30,000 to fund an upgrade of the Berkeley Neighbourhood Centre's kitchen, which delivers healthy eating programs.
Last month the WRF lost its part-time coordinator Donna Walsh after funding for the position dried up, which manager Ash Castro feared could lead to the eventual end of the program due to the increasing demands on the organisation's resources.
Mr Castro told the Mercury in January that it was largely thanks to Ms Walsh and her work as coordinator that donated food from organisations like OzHarvest was kept from going to waste and instead turned into three nutritious meals for those in need each week.
Mr Castro and a band of volunteers have worked hard to keep the program afloat since the coordinator position ended.
Mr Castro welcomed Tuesday's funding pledge.
"This is extremely positive," he said.
While ongoing, recurrent funding each year was ideal, he said the promised amount would be "a huge help".
Mr Castro said the money would give the organisation the opportunity to introduce a role like a food programs officer, amid ever-growing demand for its food initiatives.
He thanked Mr Scully, who he described as a strong advocate for the organisation and its work.
"The Warrawong Community Centre does great work through this free community lunch program," Mr Scully said.
"Warrawong is one of the most vulnerable communities in NSW.
"Cost of living pressures and rising rents have put real pressure on the family budget."
The WRF community lunch program has operated since 2003, when it was established in response to crime prevention research that found that many people committed offences in order to meet their basic needs.
Food left over at the end of the lunch service is frozen and handed out to people in need as required.