Roast, veg & a smile

Tristan WheelerManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Bridgetown’s Janine Daniels has been providing free roast meals for families in need for nearly a year.
Camera IconBridgetown’s Janine Daniels has been providing free roast meals for families in need for nearly a year. Credit: Tristan Wheeler/Manjimup-Bridgetown Times, Tristan Wheeler

Bridgetown’s Janine Daniels must be a welcome sight for families in need.

For almost a year, Janine has been delivering roast meals once a month to families who request them, bringing them a foil tray filled with food ready to eat.

“Most of the time when I’ve dropped off that meal to that person, they’re crying and I’m crying by the time that I’ve got back to my car.”

The idea to start offering the roasts came when she realised that her oven was capable of producing more than her family could eat.

“I have a very large oven and I don’t just put one tray in, I always fill my oven up, so I always make two or three days’ worth of meals,” she said.

“I was saying to my husband that when we cook two or three days’ worth of roasts, that some people could be at home going without a meal, so why don’t I put a few extra trays of vegetables in and a bigger leg of lamb and see if anyone needs a meal.”

Janine said the roast was a nice comforting meal to receive.

“I normally just do a roast with roast vegetables because I think it’s a luxury ... if you’re in need of a meal that’s what a lot of people eat,” she said.

Janine receives assistance from her family, with her husband peeling the vegetables and her son carving the roast when he is available to do so.

As well as the items she buys to cook the meals, Janine has received donations from the community, including vouchers to the local shops, allowing her to purchase meat and other roast ingredients.

“It can be fruit, vegetables, eggs,” she said.

“One lady said ... I’m finding it tough this month, but I have ample eggs, can I trade you a couple of dozen eggs for a meal?”

Janine is also involved in other charitable pursuits and tried to organise a drive to collect bicycles for presents last Christmas, before she was prevented from doing so by a family emergency.

She has recently begun looking at the local rubbish tip for old bicycles to restore.

“We were up at the tip today, trying to see what bikes were up there and starting to collect bikes, take them apart and see what bikes we could make.

“K-Mart ... have those beautiful glittery handrails, they’re only a couple of dollars, you could add that to a bike and a basket ... those sorts of things.”

Her desire to involve herself in charitable pursuits is a by-product of her experiences.

“When my kids were little we were poor,” she said.

“We were ringing St Vincent De Paul’s for food vouchers and all sorts of things.

“My kids went without excursions ... so now I want to help families out as best I can.

“I know what it’s like having little kids and going without.”

Janine paid tribute to the assistance that she has received from the local community.

“I just want to thank the community, their little bit of helping goes a long way, even if it’s just some pumpkins or potatoes, or an IGA food voucher,” she said.

Anyone interested in donating to Janine’s efforts can contact her on 0437 881 463.

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