Jo Hodge is the coordinator of Do Unto Others,a dinner program in Adelaide’s CBD. She shares how the Salvos offer food and support to vulnerable people in the city.
What was the vision for starting this program?
We wanted to engage and connect with people doing it tough in our city. We used to do a soup van but what was missing was that real connection. We decided to bring it in-house with full table service and treat people that join us like guests at arestaurant. We want to look after them, build a relationship with them and journey alongside them.
What happens at the dinner?
Teams of volunteers prepare and serve dinner and dessert for our guests. Then we sit and chat and just get to know them. We have a barista serving hot drinks and we also pack meals that people can take away with them.
How is this program meeting a social need in Adelaide?
The feedback we get from people who join us is that we don’t give up on them and we walk alongside people. The first night we had about 30 people turn up and now we have up to 200 people on Saturday nights. It’s a real mix — homeless people, rough sleepers, even elderly people and families with children.