Founded in 1989 by Reverend Bill Crews, the restaurant services the poor and needy with the help of volunteers. There are approximately 250 guests a day, who have arrived by different means of transport from surrounding areas as well as Greater Sydney.
Breakfast is served at 9 am each day and the main meal - lunch - is served between 11:30 am and 12:45 pm in what used to be the community hall of Exodus headquarters on Liverpool Road. Food consists of a hearty meal, usually a meat dish and potatoes. After the immediate needs of food are met, guests can also consult with professionals for support through Exodus's Social Health and Wellbeing Services and other welfare support systems offered by Exodus's partners.
Exodus also runs other food services such as the Night Van which serves free food to the homeless in the Sydney CBD everyday (except New Year's Eve), the Marrickville food service which provides coffee and free meals to locations in the Marrickville area and the annual Exodus Christmas Day Lunch. These services are staffed by employees and volunteers alike.
Volunteers and donations are warmly welcomed at the restaurant. When we went to volunteer (in a small group) there were individuals as well as even school groups. Even before meals, volunteers can help to prepare food alongside the experienced cooks and arrange cutlery. During meals, volunteers can help distribute cutlery and dessert tickets, pour drinks, help with tea and coffee and even cleaning up afterwards. Often guests are very friendly - dropping jokes and friendly greetings. There is even a small library in the alcove near the entrance, full of fulfilling reads (although to my horror I spied a stray copy of Stephenie Meyer's 'Twilight'.)
To volunteer and give back to the community is a very rewarding experience to the individual as well as society. I encourage anyone to help out by volunteering and donating to charities and goodwill services such as the Loaves and Fishes Restaurant. It is such an eye-opening experience that you could even take a bunch of high school kids during the holidays or a band of friends to serve the community and share the fuzzy happiness of a warm meal.