Spirit of Christmas evident at luncheon

A GENEROUS serving of cheer and festive spirit drew about 100 people to this year’s Uniting Church Christmas luncheon.

The annual function, held at the Wesley Centre in Goldsmith St, attracted a wide cross section of the community, co-organiser Jan Lawton said.

“We had a great day. We had a huge army of volunteers – about 20 in total – which was just wonderful,” she told the Post.

“I think people just wanted to do something to help.”

One family turned up with $50 worth of groceries, including chickens, mince pies and other goodies to go towards the lunch.

Everyone from the less wealthy, those better off but lonely, the incapacitated and many others attended the function.

The Uniting Church has been holding the lunch for many years but for the first time, set up two halls to accommodate the crowd.

They served cold meats, salads, vegetables and delicious desserts, including the obligatory Christmas pudding, trifle, fruit salad and ice cream.

When the initiative first started, people were invited to bring their own lunch. Then the Uniting Church provided a free lunch but Mrs Lawton said ‘middle class’ people who were simply lonely felt they should contribute. A donation box has been in place ever since.

“Once we said people could contribute, we got a very wide cross section of society coming along,” she said.

“They all mingled together very well. It was just lovely.”

Moreover, nothing is wasted. Boxing Day ‘doggy bags’ are packed up for those who wish and unopened food items are sent to Anglicare. Any other left over food is sent on to the homeless men’s hostel in Market St.

Mrs Lawton and husband, Noel have volunteered on and off at the luncheon for the past six years.

“I just love it and being there with other people,” she said.

“Every second year our children go to their in-laws, so it’s just the two of us at home at a loose end. Why not help out? If we can do something to help others, we may as well do it.”

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