The only thing that will stop a soup kitchen dishing out free, nutritious food to needy people in Kaikohe on Mondays will be a case of too many cooks in the kitchen.

Every Monday for three months through winter, Violet Woodbury makes up big pots of soup and trays of Maori bread at the Kaikohe Senior Citizens' Hall and feeds anyone who comes in for a bowl. But there have been two Mondays this winter when the soup wasn't served because of the local Probus Club's regular, long-term booking at the Senior Citizens' rooms.

"That's okay, it can't be helped, they've always had that booking," Ms Woodbury said.

"I need this kitchen for its facilities, so I'm not really looking for an alternative on those days."


It's unusual for the number of people who come to eat at the Kaikohe Community Soup Kitchen to drop below 20.

"Our motto is 'reaching the needy'. I do the soup day on Mondays because that's when a lot of people are most needy."

It's the time of the week when the pinch is felt after being paid several days earlier, Ms Woodbury said. It's the time of the week, after a lonely weekend perhaps, when some people like to get out of the house. "This is for all people and all ages. I don't ask them, and I don't care, why they're hungry or why they need to come in out of the cold for some warm kai and company."

She refuses any offer of payment or other koha for the food. It goes against the grain, she said.

Instead, she fundraises at other times with cake stalls and hangi meals to make money to run the soup kitchen.

"I work out a budget of $80 a week. That $80 pays for the meat and vegetables, butter, the flour, all the ingredients for the soup and bread, salt and pepper, dishwashing liquid, everything."

It is the fifth year Ms Woodbury has run the soup kitchen, having started out on the Kaikohe Union Church before shifting the current location.

"So long as these people leave here with a full puku and they're happy, I'm happy."