For people experiencing homelessness in Wollongong, there have been programs supplying free lunches and dinners, but none for what is commonly billed as the most important meal of the day: breakfast.
The local charity Need A Feed has stepped in to fill that gap, recently launching its Breakfast Buddies program in the city's CBD.
The program will provide a free breakfast for those in need from Globe Lane on the last Monday of each month, starting at 9am.
"The Breakfast Buddies food program in the Illawarra is crucial because it provides a meal for people in need, ensuring they start their day with a hearty breakfast and a full stomach," Need A Feed founder and chief executive officer Shaz Harrison said.
"This program helps address food insecurity and supports individuals in various ways, such as a feeling of belonging and positive human connection.
"Additionally, it fosters a sense of community and compassion by showing that people care about one another's wellbeing."
Need A Feed already provides a community lunch at the Northern Illawarra Uniting Church in Bulli every Thursday, and has established a presence and relationships with people in central Wollongong over the past six and a half years through its mobile coffee van.
"The Breakfast Buddies program was designed to nurture the relationships we have built over time and fill a need within the community," Ms Harrison said.
The first breakfast on Monday, August 28 had a "huge response", with 50 to 60 people attending for breakfast and several volunteers from Need A Feed on hand, supported by volunteers from Peoplecare.
Ms Harrison hopes the program will continue to expand in future, not only reaching more people in need but building partnerships with communities, businesses and organisations.
"Ultimately, the goal would be to reduce food insecurity and improve the overall wellbeing of those who benefit from the program," she said.
Need A Feed provided over 4500 meals, food gifts and personal care packs to people in need in 2022.
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