HEARTY MEAL: Comfort Kitchen volunteer Heather Porter and service leader Wayne Martin have helped serve 30,000 meals in five years.
HEARTY MEAL: Comfort Kitchen volunteer Heather Porter and service leader Wayne Martin have helped serve 30,000 meals in five years. Eliza Wheeler

Comfort Kitchen serves up 30,000 meals in Hervey Bay

HEATHER Porter never considered herself a chef but in recent years she has served thousands of meals to locals doing it tough.

She was one of the 40 volunteers preparing to celebrate the fifth birthday of the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre's Comfort Kitchen on Wednesday night.

The group prepares hot meals for those in need every Wednesday between 5.30-7.30pm.

"I was nervous about joining at first because I didn't know anyone, I was new to the area," Ms Porter said.

"But once I started, I made lots of good friends and it just feels good to help people."

Service Leader Wayne Martin, who also been part of Comfort Kitchen since it started, said the meals were not just for the homeless.

Families, teenagers and backpackers are not an uncommon site at the hall for dinner time.

"Some of the people who come here are couch-surfing, and others pay rent or are single seniors who want to socialise," Mr Martin said.

"There is no criteria to come here, we don't ask questions and we don't pass judgment."

About 30,000 meals in that time have been served by the team.

On any given night, the kitchen could serve between 100 and 150 people.

Ms Porter said it was hard work, but worth it to see the outcome for those who came in.

"When I came here to volunteer I said I didn't want to cook," she said.

"I really just love serving people and having a chat, too."

To celebrate the kitchen's birthday, the team cut a cake before enjoying a bowl of their own pea and ham soup and a slice of garlic bread.

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