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Mission Champion: 22 years of meals service

8 December 2017

Sacred Heart Mission has been serving hot meals for anyone who needs one every day for 35 years. One of the amazing volunteers who has been a part of this service is Jennifer Anderson, coming in to serve meals most Wednesdays for over 22 years.

Jennifer got involved via her parish, St Martin’s in Rosanna, when they approached Father Ernie Smith to see if he needed volunteers. This is how a small group of about five to six volunteers started coming in every Wednesday to help out. In all that time the number of meals Sacred Heart Mission serves every day has continued to grow.

When asked about how the kitchen has changed over 22 years, Jennifer explained meals weren’t as ‘elaborate’ as they are now.

“One of the first things we did was butter 12 plates of bread and cut up the donated cakes. The dessert was pretty much fruit salad every day and by far the favourite meal was sausages and mash with gravy,” Jennifer says.

People have always travelled to the dining hall in various ways, and for various reasons, to access the meals. A regular and favourite client of Jennifer’s was a gentleman called Matthew, who caught the tram every day to have lunch at the Mission.

“He was the loveliest man and we all knew his wife was very ill, so we used to make up a small takeaway lunch for her and also a hot meal for them both for the evening. I still see him now and then.” When asked how long she intended to continue volunteering at the Mission, Jennifer’s reply was, “Well, I’ve been coming that long now, it’s just what I do - and I’ll continue until I can’t.”

Without the ongoing support of dedicated volunteers like Jennifer, the Mission would not be able to serve 400 hot meals every day of the year. 


Sacred Heart Mission acknowledges the traditional Aboriginal owners of country throughout Victoria and pays respects to them, their culture and their elders past, present and emerging.


Sacred Heart Mission has always aimed to be a place that embraces a sexuality and gender diverse community; everyone is welcome at our table and we believe a diverse community is good for everyone.