Open Door Café at All Saints Nelson Bay gives back to the community

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(back) Maggie Dominey,Verina Rallings and (seated) Beryl Howard at the Open Door Cafe. Photo by Jewell Drury

Open Door Café at Nelson Bay is a unique place to have morning tea and lunch whilst giving back to the community.

The Open Door Café is open from 10.30am to 2.30pm every Friday and is located at All Saints Church on the corner of Tomaree and Church Streets, Nelson Bay.

It has been operating in various forms for many years and enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
15 months ago three friends Verina Rallings, Beryl Howard and Maggie Dominey decided to reinvent the café.

Beryl and Verina are the two talented chefs cooking two or three choices for the main meal and the desserts..
Maggie acts are the waitress.

“I love the homemade meals and desserts,caramel slices, lemon meringue pie and apple pie and cream,” Wendy Sharman, a Nelson Bay resident, told Bay News Of The Area.

The Open Door Café is not a drop in centre, nor a soup kitchen, but is run on a donations basis with most patrons happy to pay as little as $5 or more to receive a 3 course meal.

“For me it is way of using the gifts that God has given me to give back to our local community, and at the same time opens our church doors to the public,” Verina Rallings said.

The three friends volunteer their time and efforts to the Cafe.

The hard work of the trio and the generosity of the community over the last 15 months has enabled The Open Door Café to purchase a specialised pram for a disabled boy in Vanuatu.

“Through serving our community in this way, we have seen the building of friendships between our regular guests and also holiday makers who have dined with us – and on their return to the Bay they come back and visit us like old friends,” 90 year old Beryl Howard told Bay News Of The Area.

“We have a band of wonderful helpers on a rotation roster who support us, and we believe that investing our time and talent through Open Door Cafe has created a more interconnected community,” Maggie Dominey said.

By Jewell Drury