My Ministry: Soup kitchen on wheels

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Danny and his bus.

About 22 years ago, Danny Walker, a member of Rosny Seventh-day Adventist Church (Tasmania), set into motion a ministry that has been going ever since: a mobile soup kitchen.

Feeling compelled to reach out to the marginalised, homeless and disadvantaged in Glenorchy and Hobart, Mr Walker is committed to going out every Friday and Saturday night—rain, hail or shine—to supply soup and bread to people in need.

Bread is collected weekly from Banjo’s Bakery at Lindisfarne, and hot soup and drinks are prepared at Rosny church before the bus goes into town.

A group of around 55 people currently support the ministry every month by making food and going out into the community, and up to 40 other people work behind the scenes to purchase groceries and run an annual Christmas dinner.

In addition, people from the community are actively supporting the ministry in different ways.

A local Member of Parliament has financially supported the bus, as has Mr Snacks, a local vending and snack box specialist, whose contribution goes towards purchasing the necessary groceries. A myriad of other people support the ministry financially by selling handicrafts and other items.

Students from Hilliard Christian School and a group from the town of Kingston have given many blankets and items of warm clothing. Further, students from two government primary schools in Tasmania have fundraised to support the annual Christmas dinner.

ADRA makes a biannual financial donation to the ministry, and supplies warm clothes and bedding items. In return, ADRA’s logo is emblazoned on the side of the bus.

Mr Walker’s first bus was purchased from the Tasmanian Conference but after being worn out, was replaced with the current Mazda vehicle that previously served as a bus for the Adventist schools in the area.

Every weekend, volunteers get a free ride in the bus, but they “pay” for the privilege by donating up to three hours of their time to give food, clothes, hot drinks and a listening ear to those in need.

Over the years, many people have thanked Mr Walker and his helpers for making a difference in their lives. They have been blessed by the quiet, unassuming way that he and his friends serve God and reach out to people who have experienced hard times.