Something’s afoot in a garage in Moruya offering relief to those in need

3 July 2024

Story and photos by Victoria Silk.

Monday lunchtime was a hive of activity at the home of Kathryn Maxwell, as a team of regular volunteers merrily squeezed into a busy single car garage.

Spirits were high, banter was flowing and the work was done in a flash.

Kathryn exuded enthusiasm and purpose, proudly pointing out the abundance of pumpkins that had sprouted from her compost.

“These will go in today and top up the fruit and veg,” she said.

Kathryn was referring to food bags being prepared by SHASA and South Coast Community Kitchen volunteers for households across Moruya, Moruya Heads and Bodalla.

Gary is one of the recipients of the food bags, but also a volunteer for the community kitchen.

A full time carer for a friend with a mental illness, Gary said volunteering was his way of giving back to the program that helped him, but it was also great social contact.

Volunteers Marjolein Kromhout, Wendy Straw and Kathryn Maxwell, filling the 25 bags to be distributed across Moruya and Bodalla. Picture by Vic Silk.

The households Gary delivered to were varied.

“One girl is a carer for her father, there are three older people, and a mother and daughter, a son who cares for his elderly father who’s not very well, and then there’s another one – he has difficulty getting around,” he said.

“I know the younger girls… they’ve got young kids, I know it helps them.”

Gary was full of admiration for Kathryn and the other volunteers.

Filled with a mix of perishables such as fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy, and non-perishables, Kathryn estimated each bag to contain $80-$90 worth of food.

Kathryn inherited the initiative when her neighbour, who started collecting food for bushfire relief in Moruya, could no longer continue.

No stranger to rolling up her sleeves with practical solutions, Kathryn, who is also the President of Southcoast Health and Sustainablilty Alliance (SHASA), stepped in and partnered with the South Coast Community Kitchen (SCCK).

The South Coast Community Kitchen also provided similar food relief to 40 households across Batemans Bay, and surrounds, every fortnight.

Until recently, Kathryn did much of the heavy lifting, using her own resources and relying on the resources of volunteers.

But a Fire To Flourish grant of $78,000, through Monash University, had changed that.

As Kathryn proudly showed off the Nissan e-van (the first in the Eurobodalla) and the two new freezers, she said the purchases had been game-changing.

Kathryn Maxwell understands the needs of the community, circularity and sustainability, with the new Nissan e-van. Picture by Vic Silk.

The freezers had taken the pressure off Kathryn’s domestic arrangement, allowing her to safely store the donated food with ease.

Kathryn explained the support from Woolworths Moruya and Coles Batesman Bay, who provide the bulk of the food, was vital to the success of the program.

Something’s afoot in a garage in Moruya offering relief to those in need. Picture by Vic Silk.

The beauty of the initiative was in the circularity and symbiotic feel of the entire process.

An e-van, charged by the sun, picking up food from supermarket chains, possibly destined for landfill otherwise, delivered to 65 households in need across the Eurobodalla.

In addition, donated food was also shared across the Batemans Bay initiative, the monthly Batemans Bay Community Picnic and the Red Door Cafe’s community lunches on Tuesdays.

The donations also allowed a portion of suitable food to feed eight dogs at the Moruya RSPCA.

Kathryn was keen to highlight the opportunity for gardens with excess produce to contribute to the food relief.

“We say to people don’t waste your glut – oranges, mandarins, all those citrus…boxes of zucchini, beans – we can get rid of them for you,” she said.

“So that’s the nice thing about this, not only are we feeding families, we are reducing waste.”

To learn more about the program or volunteer visit

Garden produce can be dropped off to 3 Jeffrey Place Moruya.

Southcoast Health & Sustainability Alliance

South Coast Community Kitchen

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