Seven staff from Deutsche Bank who volunteered at SSI’s Armenian-themed Community Kitchen on November 15 were so excited by the experience they have vowed to return with more of their colleagues.
Deutsche Bank volunteers teamed up with members of the Armenian community at
SSI's Community Kitchen.
Community Kitchen is SSI’s free multicultural lunch and social day for refugees and people seeking asylum, held fortnightly at Auburn Centre for Community.
It offers a space for guests to share a meal and experience multicultural Australia. They have fun meeting new people, practise their English, and participate in music and sporting activities.
In addition to interacting with the broader Australian community, guests can access specialist service providers, information and skills development.
Community Kitchen volunteers work with volunteer leaders, chefs and SSI staff to offer a welcoming space by greeting guests, assisting with food preparation and service, organising activities and setting-up and packing-down.
The Armenian Community Kitchen, hosted by SSI in collaboration with the Western Sydney Armenian Committee for Middle Eastern Refugee Assistance, featured Armenian food, dancing with Armenian dancer Colette Mardirossian, and free hairdressing.
Deutsche Bank has a generous volunteering policy. Employees can volunteer for two days a year with a registered charity of their choice.
Camilla, one of the Deutsche Bank participants at Community Kitchen, said the refugee and asylum seeking cause was something that resonated with her team so they came to spend a day learning more about the challenges refugees face and how they could help.
She said, “The best bit for me was chatting in the kitchen with the other volunteers, learning about Armenian food, helping out and meeting new people.”
Lynn said she came to help SSI with its beautiful Armenian community day.
“We’ve had an excellent time,” she said. “I’ve met many wonderful people with incredible stories, people who were very engaged and who were also keen to meet new people.”
Lynn was on set-up-room and outdoor duty, and then on name badge duty, which is why she was able to meet so many people.
She said she was grateful for the opportunity. “I will come again. I think our whole group will be back because we’ve all enjoyed it and I’ll be recommending to at least 50 other people that they should come too.”
Jill said she also had an excellent time. “I’ve cooked kebabs, I’ve played hula hoops with the little kids, I’ve been on barbecue duty. I’ve been very busy, very active, and it’s been very enjoyable.”
She said the best thing was talking with the children: “Just chatting to them, even though we couldn’t always communicate in English. Through the art of play we were able to guess what each other was trying to say.”
Jill said she learned a lot about the difference between refugees and asylum seekers. “And I’ve learned about Armenians, where they are from and what the day was all about — bringing the community together.
“I’ve also learned how to make a really good kebab. I’m going to practise that at home, though not as many as I made today.”
The Deutsche Bank team made hundreds of kebabs. They must have been tasty, said Lynn, because there were none left over.
Who was the best face painter?
“Definitely not me!” laughed Camilla, claiming there must have been lots of disappointed children. The huge smiles on the children’s faces said otherwise.
To volunteer at Community Kitchen, click here.