Lisa Whittle: C3 Langford
Lisa’s community dinners bring all types to the table
As a committed member of her local C3 church, Lisa Whittle was always casting around for ways to bring the community together.
It was the rising crime rate and a break-in at the church that prompted the out-of-the-box idea to create Love Langford, a regular communal dinner which Lisa oversees.
“After the break-in, there was talk of putting a fence up. But we thought we would change our outlook,” says Lisa. “Instead of keeping ourselves isolated, we wanted the church to be the hub of the community."
Although free for all, the meals are in the style of a community gathering rather than a charitable soup kitchen.
They are for anybody, not just those in need, says Lisa. “At the heart of it, our intention is just to really get to know the community.”
The first dinner was in 2015, and there have been no more break-ins.
Love Langford operates every fortnight providing meals for up to 200 people from all corners of the community.
One special regular was an Indigenous woman who touched Lisa’s heart.
“She was living in public housing and started coming to the dinners. She was one of our first volunteers and this gave her a sense of purpose and a place where she belonged.”
The woman died tragically and many people gathered and sought comfort from the church, “which identified her as a valued part of our Love Langford community”, Lisa says.
Lisa is “blown away” to have been voted a Westfield Local Hero. But she’s quick to mention the many people who give up their time to help set up and prepare the meals.
“We have about 20 to 25 people who volunteer each fortnight, so I would love all of them to be recognised,” she says.
The church will use its $10,000 Westfield grant to fund a mini-van to transport isolated community members who couldn’t otherwise make it to the dinners.
“We have so many people who are seniors, disabled, or for safety reasons can’t walk alone, so we will be able to pick them up,” says Lisa.
There are also plans to buy a freezer. “At the moment, the amount of food we can keep for people is limited.
We make everything fresh, so having an extra freezer means we can freeze leftovers and give them away,” she says.