Community dinners growing in Victoria
By Gillian Saxon and Meagan Williams
SOUTHBANK COMMUNITY DINNER
On September 29th a fantastic Welcome Dinner was hosted at the Boyd Community Hub in Southbank in partnership with the City of Melbourne. It was fantastic to see such a large turnout of around 40 guests including a few locals who decided to drop in at the last minute and see what it was all about. It was a great night with lots of awesome food and great conversations in a lovely space. “It’s always special to be a part of events where people want to connect with each other and explore our diversity as humans, over something we all have in common, food,” said volunteer organiser Shelton Fernando.
We would like to send a big thank you to Darany Maokhamphiou & Gary Lee from the City of Melbourne, as well as our wonderful facilitators Sally, Annie, Charlotte and Barbora for their work in helping make this night a success. Our next Community Welcome Dinner with the City of Melbourne will be at the Docklands in February.
HIGHPOINT COMMUNITY DINNER
In August we partnered with Highpoint Shopping Centre to organise our second big community Welcome Dinner in their gorgeous events space. Around 80 newcomers to Australia and established ‘Westies’ came together over a meal and left with new friendships and full bellies after a wonderful evening.
Highpoint is one of the Welcome Dinner Project’s major sponsors and they are supporting us to run even more home and community welcome dinners in the west of Melbourne. We love them! A big thank you to all the guests, retailers, and organisations that helped make the event a success.
THINK WEST FESTIVAL MEETS WELCOME DINNER PROJECT
The Welcome Dinner Project was invited to take part in the inaugural Think West Festival this year, organised by The School of Life and supported by Highpoint. A large community Welcome Dinner was organised to close-off the festival, with 80 guests hearing Kon Karapanagiotidis tell stories of food and welcome as we broke bread and looked over the city lights. It was a very special dinner and we are grateful for The Dream Factory for hosting us, as well as the Think West Festival, The School of Life and ASRC for collaborating with us. One of the newly-arrived guests said after the event, ‘I was very happy to see Australians that they love us and care about us’.
SAMARITAN FOUNDATION DINNER
In collaboration with New Hope Foundation and our hosts, The Samaritan Foundation, we facilitated a Community Welcome Dinner in Sunshine in early December. The Samaritan Foundation were gracious hosts, teaching us about the Chin community through dance, delicious food and presentations. All the guests that were in attendance, including the new mayor of Brimbank John Hedditch, agreed that it was definitely a ‘one of a kind’ Welcome Dinner and that we all felt enriched through our new connection to Chin culture. Thank you to everyone who made this dinner possible.