PLUMBING and industrial works company JB Camerons has come to the rescue of Ballarat's much-loved Soup Bus Kitchen for the needy.
The Soup Bus was left without a home base in the city's centre after an unexpected end to its operations out of Ballarat City Senior Citzens Club in Little Bridge Street late last month.
Soup Bus founder Craig Schepis said the charity, run under On Track Foundation, was caught short until Camerons stepped forward to offer space two weeks ago.
Ideally, the Foundation was keen to find another indoor home for central operations to look after the city's most vulnerable but Mr Schepis said they were grateful for an important chance to keep the Soup Bus serving.
"We were working with City of Ballarat to try and find another venue but, even though we have such strong support in Ballarat, any venue that was attractive had impacts on business - that's something we're mindful of," Mr Schepis said.
"We're heavily relied upon with the community struggling as it gets colder.
"Our volunteers are motivated, and more so than ever, in making sure they can help people."
Mr Schepis said clients had loved the senior citizens' club, sitting together and sharing a meal indoors for up to an hour and a half at night.
The Soup Bus moved to the senior citizens club, with help from City of Ballarat, once redevelopment works started on Civic Hall.
Camerons offered land in Armstrong street, opposite the School of Mines car park.
Tradesman donated their services to ensure the Soup Bus could connect to power and best use the space.
The Soup Bus Kitchen has been forced to suspend operations in Sebastopol to use the bus while an older bus remains undergoing upgrades.
Mr Schepis said the moves had been distressing for some in the community but the foundation was working with welfare agencies to best move forward. Most people had found the new central location via word of mouth.
Camerons chief executive officer Stephen Griffin said the Soup Bus was important to the community and this was an easy way the business could help.
"Camerons are a local business going back more than 120 years. We've always been involved in the community...This is not impacting on our business but helping people most in need," Mr Griffin said.
"They can stay as long as they like, our aim is to help."
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