Janine Daniels with Christmas Hampers for Bridgetown people doing it tough.
Christmas comes around once a year but the spirit of giving burns brightly all year round for Bridgetown woman Janine Daniels.
On the last Sunday of each month for almost two years Mrs Daniels has been cooking roast dinners for those in need in Bridgetown. These days it’s up to 27 serves for 10 families, but it all started far more modestly.
“When I was doing a roast I would make sure there was enough vegetables for two or three more nights and I said to my husband while were having our dinner, ‘you know the extra dinners that I’m putting in the fridge for us, people are sitting at home and doing without’, and that’s how it started,” she said.
“It was like I can fit six trays in my oven when doing a roast, so how many mouths would that feed?”
She launched the idea through a Facebook announcement for anyone in need, while also calling for donations of food, but word of mouth has also been important.
“I would have to say that half of the people that have a meal are through their neighbours saying ‘my neighbour’s doing it tough,’” she said.
Today she delivers those 27 meals to her “vast extended family”, keeping it warm in an Esky.
Some are so grateful for her efforts and generosity they’re left in tears when they receive it.
She’s helped by the generosity of Bridgetown people who donate bags of vegetables and money at the IGA or the butchers in town.
“Fifty-to-sixty percent of the time I come home and I find bags of vegetables at my front door, or people have messaged saying ‘can I please drop off carrots or potatoes or pumpkins, or what do you need?’” she said.
Mrs Daniels is also in charge of the free pantry at St Brigid’s convent, a two-door wardrobe of food that’s available for people doing it tough to take what they need.
A house cleaner by profession, Mrs Daniels also cares for NDIS clients, as well as aged care people who slip through the gaps in the system.
She’s recently prepared her last meals for Bridgetown families for the year along with Christmas hampers and is heading to Perth to enjoy Christmas with her family. She’s called Bridgetown home for 15 years, but husband, Michael is Bridgetown born-and-bred.
The family home is on the market and the couple are planning to leave Bridgetown. Her generosity, dedication and work will be sorely missed by many Bridgetown residents when that happens.