Cuisine to unite Latrobe Valley community

THE international language of food will help unite people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in the Latrobe Valley, after a local organisation secured state funding for its Community Kitchen program.

Last week Ageing Minister David Davis announced a funding injection of $10,000 for Latrobe Community Health Service, as one of the 43 organisations which received grants from the State Government.

“Our plan is to use this government grant to reach out to people from (these) backgrounds and to make Community Kitchens more inviting to these individuals,” LCHS health promotion officer Pieta Bucello said.

“It would be fantastic if people shared their favourite recipes and taught others in the group how to cook traditional foods.”

LCHS welcomed the announcement of the funds for its program, which it said was a good social avenue for people who might normally live and eat alone.

“This can also apply to people from different cultural backgrounds who might find it difficult to meet new people,” Ms Bucello said.

“We provide a relaxed setting for people to share a meal and get to know each other; we will in particular work with representatives of ethnic community groups to encourage their more isolated members join Community Kitchens.”

Meanwhile, Mr Davis said in a statement the program would bring seniors from China, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Sudan, Indonesia and the former USSR, among others, together to cook affordable, nutritious meals which would be shared or divided to take home.

According to Ms Bucello, a Community Kitchen presently runs in Morwell at St Lukes Uniting Church on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month.

There is presently a plan to run more sessions on the first and third Wednesdays of the month, with another Community Kitchen to be run from the Traralgon East Community Centre through the Traralgon East Residents’ Group, with new participants welcome.

“In the future we aim to link the kitchens with community gardens as a strategy to increase the program’s sustainability,” Ms Bucello said.

“By growing their own vegetables and herbs, members can learn new skills and keep costs down in the kitchen.”

Anyone who would like be involved in a Community Kitchen should phone LCHS on 1800 242 696.