Anne and Viola have been volunteering at the Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre for a combined 30 years.
Their passion for working alongside people seeking asylum has led to the success of the weekly community dinner program at the centre.
The duo leads a group of consumers and volunteers to plan and cook a weekly community meal for up to 40 people.
Together they provide consumers with useful cooking techniques and ideas for making the most of fresh produce to help them prepare meals at home.
They are a dynamic team with an infectious enthusiasm and ability to bring people together, ensuring everyone can participate in the preparation of meals. This has created an inclusive and welcoming space for all.
The day begins by sorting donated food, then preparing the weekly meal.
In the kitchen, Anne and Viola ensure there is enough food to go around.
The pair also led the creation of the Share My Plate Again cookbook, featuring recipes shared by consumers from the program.
The pride and ownership of the cookbook came from the confidence consumers gained in the kitchen, thanks to the encouragement and support of these two women.
Anne, who travels from Geelong to Brunswick each week to volunteer at the centre, says she enjoys the friendships she has gained from the program.
“It’s lovely to meet new people and hear their stories,” says Anne.
“I enjoy working alongside a group of like-minded people. There’s a wonderful sense of team-work.
“Viola is lovely and such a hard worker. She gives a lot to her community.”
It’s a mutual admiration between the pair.
“Anne is very well respected by all, and she is very respectful to all,” says Viola.
“I enjoy working in the kitchen with Anne.
“It’s wonderful to see the clients in their element, sharing their cuisine. They cook, they eat, they laugh.”