Festive fun with fine food and new friends

By Roger Moroney

For many of the 93 folk who enjoyed a Christmas Day lunch organised by All Saints Church in Taradale meeting strangers turned into meeting new friends.

"That is something we hoped would happen and it looked like it did," organiser Val Chapman said after popping back to the All Saints Church Hall yesterday to wrap up the last of the cleaning.

She said many of those who enjoyed the hospitality of church volunteers and members of the public who wanted to do something for others on Christmas Day, were older people who lived alone - and who otherwise would have had a Christmas alone.

"A lot of them arrived and didn't know anyone else there but, after a while, the conversations were buzzing - they were all chatting away.

"It was wonderful to see and everyone had a fantastic time."

About 15 people gave up their own Christmas Day time to be part of the well-organised team who put on a delicious festive spread of ham, chicken, roast lamb and vegetables.

It was the third year All Saints Church had run the dinner, and Mrs Chapman said she had to turn down about 20 requests from people who also wanted to volunteer to help.

"That is marvellous - they were prepared to give up their time to do something special for others on what is a special day."

As well as preparing the dinner - and carols - volunteers also drove out to collect about 30 people from their homes because they had no available transport.

Mrs Chapman said the dinner would be staged again next year.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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