WHEN Lisa Whittle first proposed a communal dinner to unite the community, she had no idea how popular it would become.
The C3 Langford Church member came up with the idea to host a regular community dinner at the church to help connect with local people.
Rather than a typical soup kitchen, Mrs Whittle said she and a band of volunteers decided to turn the idea into a regular communal dinner in order to establish a stronger community connection.
“Our aim was to get into their world and having a meal was the beginning; dinner at our place is how we connect,” she said.
“Food is connecting people so we can build a relationship and connect to our community.”
Mrs Whittle said the idea proved more popular than they first thought; so popular in fact, they decided to downsize the event.
“When we started, we were weekly and we grew; one dinner had up to 400 people,” she said.
“It’s hard to connect with 400 people and our aim was to be intimate and connect. It limits who you can connect with
“We basically went fortnightly and since we’ve halved to about 200 people, it is so much easier and we are able to be more intimate.”
Having recently been voted a Westfield Local Hero and secured a $10,000 grant for the initiative, Mrs Whittle said they were looking at purchasing a minivan to help elderly people and people with disabilities get to the dinners.
She stressed the dinners, which operated fortnightly, were open to everyone and they wanted to ensure no one felt alone.
“Some people don’t have family, friends, they might feel alone, and the dinners are for anyone who wants to be a part of something and belong,” she said.
“These people are making connections, they’re walking down the street and seeing someone they didn’t know before the dinners.”