This year the Service Dining Rooms marks a milestone together with I&J – 80 years in service providing a dignified meal to the unemployed and homeless. Originally set up in the 1930’s to support the unemployed and their families during the Great Depression, the Service Dining Rooms continues to support people today by providing over 100 000 meals, not for charity but for trade – a nominal fee or literally tokens (earned in a number of socially enabling projects such as the Carpenter Shop car wash). Trade equals dignity – and the Service Dining Rooms is about a dignified meal – and the favourite is fish. Every Wednesday and Friday, we donate fish to the Service Dining Rooms. Our freshest fish comes straight off the boats, into the pots and onto the plates to provide wholesome, essentially ‘free’ meals – which are served in the same hall in Canterbury Street purpose built in 1935. At the heart I&J is a culture of fish & community – and eight decades later, our heritage of sharing our catch with those who need remains one of our proudest traditions.
‘Our customers eat fresher fish here than anyone else because the fish comes straight off the docks, into our kitchen and onto the plates. There’s nothing like hot fish stew on a cold day when you’re hungry. Here 250 people can sit-down, not be harassed and enjoy the best fish in the world.’