THE Lilydale Salvation Army says it is struggling to feed the community's most vulnerable people as demand for its services continues to soar.
Every second Friday of the month for the past year, the Salvation Army's Lilydale community centre manager Neal Taylor and his team of volunteers have hosted Matt's Cafe, a community supper for people who walk in off the street.
"Its not just homeless people we are feeding," he told the Weekly. "It's people facing poverty, loneliness, depression and other mental health issues who are desperate for a meal and somebody to talk to."
But without a commercial kitchen, Mr Taylor said, it was becoming harder to cater for the number of people in need.
The kitchen is without an oven or proper sink and volunteers usually spend hours preparing food using slow cookers.
"We would never turn someone away. But we are constantly running down to grab an extra pizza or opening cans of spaghetti to feed the extra numbers. If we had the relevant kitchen to work with we could easily meet the demand.
"Ideally, we want the centre to move to a bigger location that has an on-site kitchen. But even if we just had a commercial kitchen in the current centre it would help because we could more easily transport the food."
Lilydale Salvation Army officers have looked at other sites in the shire but the rent costs are out of reach. "The biggest thing for us is that we want to stay in Lilydale," Mr Taylor said.
The Lilydale Salvation Army is organising a silent auction and trivia night on July 21. For details or to donate, call 97356925.