Soup kitchen president Mieke Bell receiving the cheque from Reverend Bob Rutherford, with on lookers Mayor Jenny Dowell, Soup Kitchen vice president Margaret Lord, volunteer Gillian Kane and Evelyn Daley from the Uniting Church.
Soup kitchen president Mieke Bell receiving the cheque from Reverend Bob Rutherford, with on lookers Mayor Jenny Dowell, Soup Kitchen vice president Margaret Lord, volunteer Gillian Kane and Evelyn Daley from the Uniting Church.

Homeless find room at the inn

Last year’s No Room at the Inn concert raised about $6000 towards the creation of a homeless shelter for Lismore. But at the time there was no designated site and nobody really knew what was going to happen, so the Uniting Church banked the money and waited.

Now that the Lismore Soup Kitchen has taken over the Winsome Hotel, Reverend Bob Rutherford has handed over the money, plus interest.

“It’s a dream that has been a long time coming,” Reverend Bob said.

In fact it’s been about eight years since he first applied for a research grant that helped establish the need for such a facility in the Lismore area.

The new president of the Soup Kitchen Mieke Bell said the money from the concert would be put towards the ongoing running costs of the facility. The first two people have already been accommodated at the Winsome, in what Meike called “low cost accommodation for homeless people”, wanting to get away from the term “homeless shelter”.

Mieke said they would be moving the Soup Kitchen’s lunchtime meals to the Winsome from this Friday, November 13.

“We’re moving from the tinnie to the Winnie,” she said – a reference to the tin shed at South Lismore where they currently operate from.

Reverend Bob said there would be another concert this Christmas featuring the Perch Creek Family Jug Band, Black Train, the Lismore City Concert Band and others.

“I’ve spoken to Diana Anaid and she will be there if the Good Lord is willing and the creeks don’t rise,” he said.

The money from that concert will go towards assisting homeless people in other ways, like a fund that can be drawn on for specific needs.

Reverend Bob is retiring at the end of the year and the concert and his Christmas services were supposed to be his final duties for the Uniting Church. But an email friendship he has struck up with American singer/songwriter Barry McGuire looks like it will lead to another concert in March next year.

Barry McGuire is best known for the anti-war protest song Eve of Destruction released in 1965 and then he became a born again Christian in the early 70s.

Reverend Bob first contacted Barry McGuire about something he’d said when he became a Christian.

“He’d been a bit of a rock star and been into the drugs and the women and everything and some journalists were hassling him about Jesus being a bit of a crutch for him and he said, ‘No, Jesus is not a crutch, he is the bone in my leg and when I got that I threw the crutches away’.”

Reverend Bob said he has been talking to Barry about the homeless situation here and is planning to bring him out here in March next year to perform at another fundraising concert. Apparently Barry has written a new version of Eve of Destruction and the plan is to get a bunch of Lismore kids up on stage to sing it with him, and possibly record it as well.

Stay tuned...


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