Williamstown’s Helping Hand Cafe marks its 10th anniversary next month, celebrating 17,000 meals served to people looking for a feed and a friendly face.

The cafe is a weekly meals program at Williamstown Church of Christ, open to anyone wanting a free two-course meal and a food parcel to take away.

Pastor Megan Jung said many people came for the friendship and sense of belonging.

“I think the main thing, as far as we identify, is just around loneliness and isolation and a real lack of spaces for that kind of connection – and people finding belonging,” she said. “I think there’s just a real need for spaces of connection.

“The cafe is run by a team of dedicated volunteers and our founding cafe co-ordinator, Robert Adams, is still involved in leading the team 10 years on.”

Gloria, who has been coming to the cafe since its launch in 2005, said she most appreciated the warm and caring volunteers, the new friends she has made and the support she has received.

“Many people in Williamstown are lonely and have mental health issues,” she said.

“People look forward to coming to the cafe – it gives them a bit of a boost.”

Another client, Bruce, said the meals were healthy and tasty and people were friendly.

“The cafe is like a family to me,” he said.

RSVP to office@willichurch.org.au or 9397 5715 by July 10.c