Friday is usually a busy day at Shared Table.

People gather at Shared Table’s premises in the St Stephen’s Hall to enjoy a great lunch, a chat and, if they like, take home a hamper of food items.

There is no charge – it is a service to help people who need a hand in these tough times.

However, because of the coronavirus restrictions, lunches will not be available for the foreseeable future.

The shop will be open but people are asked to be patient and enter one at a time.

Over recent years, a growing number of people have been welcomed to Narrabri Shared Table, a volunteer organisation auspiced by Jericho Road, a service organisation of the Presbyterian Church.

On Friday, the Shared Table premises were busy – tables were filled with people enjoying lunch prepared by the volunteer kitchen staff, the ‘last lunch’ for a while as it has turned out.

And equally busy were the volunteers dispatching hampers of basic food items.

Shared Table is really about drought relief. The impacts of the drought years may now be heavily overshadowed in people’s minds by the coronavirus pandemic, but the results of the long drought are still very much with us.

“We dispatched 30 hampers today,” said hamper co-ordinator Debbie Smith on Friday. “That’s food for 70 people.”

Not only can people phone up during the week and ‘put an order in’ for a hamper, if they live out of town and can’t get in, Shared Table volunteers will happily deliver.

“We sent out 14 hampers for 32 people on farms today,” said Debbie.

The hampers went out to adults and 16 children.

The lunch (now suspended until restrictions are lifted) and the hampers, big and small depending on the need, are free – a contribution from the volunteers at Shared Table to those who welcome a helping hand in difficult times.

And the shop at Shared Table is stocked with a big range of food lines, all available at extremely low prices. Fresh fruit and vegetables are free.

Shared Table is an organisation which sees a need and cheerfully fills it.

“We meet people who are out of work – many have never been out of work before,” said Shared Table president Cecile van Lill. Shared Table is open from 10am to 2pm on Fridays and lunch is served every Friday between 12 and 1pm.

Meals are prepared by volunteers in the kitchen, a main course and dessert plus drinks.

About 55 people sat down to enjoy lunch on Friday, groups of two or three or more at individual tables. The atmosphere is friendly, and the food is great.

“Everybody is welcome,” said Mrs van Lill.

“It is all about friendship, fellowship and care. People can come in and sit down, relax, have a good chat to other people – it’s a space for people to share. We sit, talk, hear about people’s circumstances.”

Shared Table welcomes contributions. Food is bought from the Food Bank organisation in Sydney, and Coles and Woolworths provide vegetables.

What does Shared Table need?

“If people have extra fruit or vegetables, we have a very good fridge to accommodate them,” said Cecile.

And cans of tuna would be especially welcome – a great protein food.

“We feel blessed that people are so prepared to contribute – we are just knocked over by their generosity,” said Mrs van Lill.

“And they can be assured that we don’t waste a single thing.”

Phone Cecile van Lill, 6792 5755, or Debbie Smith, 0402 654 867 if you would like to contribute.

To order photos from this page click here