The Dining Room Mission (TDM) is a community meal service which provides substantial nutritious two-course meals for homeless people and struggling families. It operates every Tuesday from 6pm-7.30pm in the Fellowship Room at St John The Divine Anglican Church in Croydon.

TDM has provided a wonderful opportunity for the involvement of a group of participants of IOE’s Boronia site adult services program. Each Tuesday, as part of their day program, the group bake the desserts (40 servings) for the Dining Room Mission. On Tuesday evening last week they not only cooked the dessert but also delivered their goodies and assisted with setting up the Fellowship Room for the community meal.

Program hours had to be changed to accommodate this schedule, allowing the group to take the next step in this rewarding program. It was well worth the change as the evening was a huge success. The IOE group will continue their involvement with TDM with obvious benefits for all involved.

Shelly Stevens, who works with the group at Boronia, gave a rundown of the experience:

‘The group started with baking chocolate coconut slices at the Boronia site before heading off to St Johns. It was fantastic for them to be able to actually deliver their own baking to the Dining Room Mission.

When we arrived at the church we did a meet-and-greet with the church volunteers, then jumped to work assisting with setting up the room for the evening meal. The first task was to set up tables with sauce bottles, salt & pepper shakers, bread, butter, serviettes, etc.

After setting the tables everyone assisted with preparing the community meal in the kitchen. We also helped the church volunteers carry food donations into the church from the supply sheds.

Before we knew it, it was prayer time. Then we sat at our own table and, along with all the church guests, enjoyed a meal and our own delicious desserts.

Jack (TDM volunteer) acknowledged the IOE group with a speech, thanking them all for the much appreciated desserts they make each week. Lots of guests and church volunteers were so appreciative of our contribution that they came up to our table and chatted with us.

After the meal, we helped with cleaning up tables, scraping food scraps off plates into buckets, putting dirty cutlery into buckets with warm soapy water and collecting glasses and mugs for the dishwasher.

After dinner, the church volunteers set up tables with free clothes and shoes for guests to take home. I sat with the group and we all chatted about how lucky we are to walk through the front door when we get home and enjoy a nice meal.

Overall, everyone stepped up and assisted with lots of different tasks. They seemed to enjoy being involved at the church and coped well with the change of hours.

We will be keeping up this awesome community connection with the group continuing to bake and assist with The Dining Room Mission at the church once a month.

I was so proud of everyone involved. Awesome work Carly, Corey, James, Paul and Siobhan!’


If you would like to donate food or baking supplies, please contact Matt or Shelly on 9761 3127 between 9am and 3pm. Donations will ensure that this program can continue to support local people experiencing homelessness or disadvantage