HE SOWED THE SEED: The Winsome Soup Kitchen’s founder Don Ferguson at home in Maclean. PHOTO: DEBRAH NOVAK
HE SOWED THE SEED: The Winsome Soup Kitchen’s founder Don Ferguson at home in Maclean. PHOTO: DEBRAH NOVAK

Don cooked up support for homeless people

YOU never know what one act of kindness can turn into. That's certainly the case with Maclean's Don Ferguson, the man responsible for starting what is today a Lismore institution.

In February 1990, Don was a ceramic tiler and what he calls "a believer". He still is. He saw a man eating out of a bin and made a promise to himself to try to help the homeless and needy.

Soon after, the Church of Christ supplied the Lismore-based Don with a kitchen free of charge and he began cooking and eating there himself, placing a small sign on the door welcoming others to do the same.

It didn't take long for word to spread and other people to join him for a meal at what would eventually become the Lismore Soup Kitchen at the Winsome.

"I used to joke I had more customers downstairs than they had upstairs (at the church)," he says.

"It was about food and fellowship."

Eight months later Don had to leave the area, but his dream was carried on by committed volunteers.

I used to joke I had more customers downstairs than they had upstairs (at the church).

These days he lives in Maclean and says he no longer cooks because he has a lovely cook - his wife, Gail - to do it for him.

Don and Gail will be guests at the Soup Kitchen's 25th birthday celebrations on Saturday.

Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision Australia has been the soup kitchen's patron for 20 years. He will be the speaker.

Musician Luke Vassella, a Dolphin Music Award winner, will provide music.

Jim Hearn, who was formerly a chef at Wategos in Byron Bay, and was an artist in residence for the Home Project (Norpa and SCU) at the Winsome, will be preparing delicious food.

There are only 80 tickets available, at $50 a head. So, if you want one, get in quickly.



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