Dine with Heart Month in May – Dine out. Have Fun. Do Good

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By Leanne Clancey

Food journalist, restaurant critic and Dine With Heart committee member

St Kilda has always been a place of icons – Luna Park, The Palais, The Espy, Cicciolina, Monarch Cakes, Leo’s and Sacred Heart Mission. I can’t really think of another neighbourhood that has supported so many enduring icons in the same way.

St Kilda was my first home when I moved to Melbourne from Warrnambool as a teenager in the early 1990s, so it has always had a special place in my heart. I lived on Neptune Street and Sacred Heart Mission was literally metres away from my home. Despite all the eye-opening things happening on the streets, there was always something comforting about having the Mission there. It was like a kind old aunty who loved all her nieces and nephews equally.

I reckon the sense of pride in community is stronger in St Kilda than in most other parts of Melbourne and Sacred Heart Mission really embodies that. Geographically it’s in the heart of St Kilda, and from a human perspective, it’s where the love is too.

I was invited along to the Dine with Heart Dinner in 2014 by chef Ian Curley, a good friend. Sure, we got to eat incredible food from some of Melbourne’s biggest chefs, but for me the highlight was getting a chance to hear the story of the Mission, of the people who make up its community and the important role it plays.

I got a fresh reminder of what life is really like for folks doing it tough, something that’s easy to overlook when you’re a busy person, living your life.

There are so many people in the world who need help, and sometimes that can seem overwhelming. I like the simplicity of looking at your local community and starting from there. The work of the Mission isn’t glamorous, but it is hugely inspiring. Take the Mission’s Dining Hall for example. It’s humanity in action. One big act of generosity and unconditional love.

Sacred Heart Mission is very humble in the way that it operates. There’s no slick TV ads, no celebrity endorsement, no trumpet blowing – it’s just people helping people, 365 days a year, relying on the generosity of ordinary folks like you and me, to keep its Meals Program going.

$4 is all it takes to fund a good square meal for one person.

We live in a thriving, civilised first world country. At the very least everyone should be able to have a decent meal every day and to feel a sense of safety, connection and belonging. For the same price as your morning coffee you can lend some serious support to Sacred Heart Mission’s Meals Program.

Dine with Heart Month

Sunday 1 – Tuesday 31 May

Dine with Heart Month raises funds for Sacred Heart Mission’s Meals Program.

By dining out in May at the restaurants/cafes/bars participating in Dine with Heart Month, you can help make a real and tangible difference in the lives of people experiencing homelessness, disadvantage and social isolation.

More than 50 venues across St Kilda, the city of Port Phillip and Melbourne’s CBD will work together to raise funds to help those in need.

For more information and a list of participating venues, go to:




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