The Kitchen

The Kitchen logo


The Kitchen is the first ‘room’, serving the vision of Many Rooms. The Kitchen is a drop in centre for homeless and disadvantaged people. As well as a place where participants receive a nutritious two course meal, it is a place where participants come to hang out, to relax, to feel safe and comfortable in an environment where they are accepted and where there is mutual respect. It is an environment where relationships are formed and grow, and people – participants and volunteers alike – do life together for a few hours every week.

The Kitchen

  • Breakfast and Lunch. Breakfast generally is continental style (cereals, toast, juice, tea/coffee), with the occasional cooked breakfast. The lunch consists of two courses with the main course generally including meat.
  • a safe place for participants to meet, feel comfortable and spend Saturday lunchtime. The drop-in centre is a place where disorderly behaviour will not be tolerated, so that those who come can feel safe.
  • fun social activities to draw out people’s talents and enjoy each other’s company
  • encouragement from the Bible
  • opportunities for volunteers to serve those in need in the local community.

The main target group is homeless people. The Kitchen will be restricted to those over 18 years of age (ie not youth).

Venue Information

The Friday Kitchen runs Friday nights 6-8pm, Multicultural Hub, 506 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne CBD (Opposite Victoria Market).

The Saturday Kitchen will run every Saturday from 8.45am to 3pm and is located at:

  North Melbourne Community Centre
  49 Buncle St, North Melbourne


On days when the North Melbourne Community Centre is shut (e.g on public holidays), we will schedule an alternative activity, usually taking place from 12pm to 3pm.

** The Saturday Kitchen: Venue Sheet (PDF) – ideal for referral services, or to hand out to potential guests at The Kitchen **

Specific travel information by train or tram can be downloaded below:

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City of Melbourne logo

Along with funding and support from our ‘home-base’ at City on a Hill, The Kitchen received significant funding from the Melbourne City Council in August 2009 to kick start Many Room’s activities in inner-city Melbourne.

A little background …

Why on Saturday?

There are many community organisations operating in Melbourne and surrounds providing services to homeless and other socially marginalised people. However, most of them help people throughout the week, during normal business hours. Very few organisations are open out of hours or on the weekend. Yet people have the same needs at these times as during the rest of the week. There is clearly a need to provide increased assistance on the weekends and out of hours to socially marginalised people. This is exactly what the Kitchen aims to do.

What is available?

  • Filling, nutritious and tasty meals
  • Coffee and tea facilities

  • Newspapers

  • Games – Scrabble, Uno + others

  • Couches

  • Pool table and table tennis tables

Ideas for the future:

  • Provide an informal Bible study which participants are free to attend if they wish

  • Pool competitions
  • TV with movie playing or footy or similar

  • Computers with internet connection
  • A reading corner with some magazines and books

Throughout the life of the Kitchen thus far, we have sought feedback from participants (eg. surveys). These have been used to improve the service provided at The Kitchen. These surveys will also be used to identify new facilities and services that we can provide.

Daily timetable

The table below gives a rough indication of the timetable every Saturday. There will be some variation in some elements (eg cook might start earlier or later). However, some times will be fixed, such as opening, meal served and closing.

Lunchtime cooks arriveTeam leaders and a few volunteers remain to socialise with participants.
Lunch volunteer team arrives to prepare for lunch
Time Event

8:00 am

Breakfast volunteer team arrives, sets up tables and equipment

8:45 am

The Kitchen opens for participants, tea coffee and continental breakfast items available until 10am

9:45 am

Volunteers start clean up for breakfast

10 am

Lunchtime cooks arrive

10:30 am

Breakfast clean up concluded

11:30 am

Team leaders and a few volunteers remain to socialise with participants.
Lunch volunteer team arrives to prepare for lunch

12:30 pm

Lunch is served until all food is finished

1:30 pm

Volunteers start cleaning

2:30 pm

Pack up of tables and equipment

3 pm

The Kitchen closes and volunteers go home


The Kitchen is run almost completely by volunteers. There are eight teams, (four breakfast and four lunchtime teams) on a four weekly roster. Approximately eleven people are required per lunchtime, in the following roles (based on cooking our own meals):

Cook – one person will be nominated to be the main chef, in charge of ensuring all the groceries are done and getting the meal ready on time. (a reserve cook is also appointed to each team).

Cook’s assistants – three or four people will be assisting the chef to prepare the meal. These people would also need to help with dishes and cleaning up after the meal is served.

The five or six remaining people are then available to chat with the participants and be present in the main area.

One of the people on the day will also be the team leader – this person can be any one of the six.

Team 5 volunteers, Christmas in July

There are over 70 people in total involved in volunteering at the kitchen. All staff will be suitably trained before being allowed to help. Specific training requirements are:

  • Basic training for all volunteers in aspects of food handling, relating to homeless people, how to react in emergency situations etc.

  • Cooks are required to do a safe food handling course (all costs reimbursed)

  • There will always be least one person trained in first aid present each Saturday.