Jamie Oliver has opened his Ministry of Food centre in Ipswich to provide fresh meals for flood victims. (Getty Images: Patrick Riviere)
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has sped up the opening of his Ministry of Food centre in the flood-ravaged city of Ipswich, west of Brisbane.
The Ipswich branch, Oliver's first in Australia, was due to officially open around March.
"Construction for the new Ministry of Food Ipswich was due to commence this week," program manager Alicia Peardon said. "However, given the devastation to the local area, we've put those plans on hold for now to help get the community back on its feet."
People can drop in throughout the day for tea and coffee and collect a meal voucher for a nutritious dinner served between 6pm and 7:30pm AEST daily.The venue will instead open for the coming two weeks as a drop-in centre for local Ipswich residents.
."I've been as shocked as anyone by the scenes of devastation in Queensland and the tragic stories to go with them," Oliver said in a statement. "It's only right that the Ministry of Food centre in Ipswich plays its part in helping the community, so I hope that providing free, freshly cooked meals for those who need them most will go some way to helping the local community and relief workers in the coming days and weeks. "The people of Queensland are always in my thoughts at the moment."
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale says he is delighted to hear of the support being offered by the service.