On the 27th of July, the Raise up crew from YMCA Onehunga hosted CommUnity Kai, a fantastic event when local families could come along for a feed at a makeshift community soup kitchen.

The event, run by 10 young members of YMCA Onehunga and youth coordinator Josh Martin, was a great success, attracting about 40 members of the community. The Raise Up crew was also visited by Sue Newton, of Onehunga News, and Labour MP Carol Beaumont. The crew got to engage with a range of social levels, age groups and nationalities as a result of the event, helping them to further understand the needs and interests of the community.

This fantastic group of young people made delicious soups ranging from vegetable to chicken, with bread to soak up the excess. They also cooked butter chicken for those who preferred to eat something more solid. Josh Martin, youth coordinator for YMCA Onehunga, said of the event: “The Raise Up youth were so passionate about providing food for these strangers, and servicing them with a smile.”

The highlight of the day was when the crew found out that it was the birthday of a local woman. Living alone and having no one to celebrate with, she had come to the soup kitchen for company and a good feed. As soon as they discovered it was her birthday, members of the crew went out and bought her a cake, and then sang happy birthday for her, making her feel valued and special on her big day. 

The event was a fantastic way of giving to and sharing with the community of Onehunga. The crew is now looking into making this a bi-monthly or quarterly event, with Josh describing it as “a great way to engage with the community and provide a real connection between our organisation, our youth and the real people of our community.”