By Rosie Panetta.
Danielle Jaquillard is used to being centre stage, having spent 35 years as a violinist with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. But when COVID-19 hit in 2020, her career – like so many – came to an abrupt halt.
“Everything shut down and I thought ‘what am I going to do with myself’?” Danielle says of the uncertainty.
That’s when she decided to make the move ‘backstage’ … to the kitchen of Café Outside The Square; a not-for-profit café which has been dishing up a lot more than great food and coffee since opening their doors in 2017.
The café provides free training and work experience opportunities for disadvantaged and vulnerable South Aussies. At night, their landlord, Vinnies, uses the space to serve dinner to the Companions staying in their crisis accommodation shelter three doors down the road.
In 2020 they extended their services and established a ‘soup kitchen’, as the impact of the pandemic saw an increased demand for food services.
Danielle is now one of around 30 volunteers who helps prepare hearty meals daily to distribute among several of Adelaide’s homeless shelters and support centres, including the Hutt Street Centre, Baptist Care, Puddle Jumpers and Vinnies.
Now the charity is preparing for its biggest fundraiser yet – SOUP & SLEEP.
Just as the name suggests, the event will see around 50 people rolling up their sleeves in the café to prepare hundreds of litres of soup on Thursday June 3, before sleeping out for the night on the lawns of Ayers House, in a bid to raise funds ahead of the charity’s busiest months.
“We’re already seeing an increase in demand as we transition into the winter months” says Café Outside The Square founder Mike Chalmers.
“We’re a community charity, so our ability to maximise the services we provide depends on the generosity of the community around us.”
With a target goal of $100,000, he says support for the Soup & Sleep event has been incredible.
“We have been absolutely thrilled by the huge amount of support we have received from our volunteers and from the community more generally for our major fundraising event … it’s been really heartening to see.”
For Danielle, it’s that same heartening feeling that has kept her coming back week-after-week, long after her life returned to normal.“I keep coming back because I love the people here …we’ve become a little family in this kitchen, helping each other get through this past year, just as much as we’ve been helping others,” she says. “I really love the work we do.”
You can donate through this link: www.cafeoutsidethesquare.org.au
All donations are tax deductible.
You can find Café Outside The Square at 34 Whitmore Square, Adelaide.
They’re open 8am – 3pm, Thursday to Monday.
The café also runs a commercial café and functions centre.
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