Hundreds turn out for community Christmas lunch

By Cherie Taylor


There was standing room only for late stragglers to the Community Christmas Luncheon.


Hundreds of people were dished up a slap-up festive meal at the luncheon put on at St John's Church this year.


The resounding comments from many attending seemed to be many families would have gone without if they hadn't attended.


Missy Moses has been enjoying the Christmas lunch since it began many years ago.


"It means so much to so many people. Especially today when people can hardly afford to put food on the table. They just can't afford to eat."


She really enjoyed watching the dozens of children's faces light up as they were handed their own wrapped present.


"It was so nice. They'd have got nothing otherwise. We have such a caring community."


Another elderly retired woman in her 80s, who didn't wish to be identified, said she had't had a cooked meal for months and was looking forward to tucking into a meal.


"Lots of us on the pension can't afford to eat a cooked meal. I live on crackers and Marmite usually. Well, Vegemite at the moment ... it's good people care enough to do this for us."


One of the organisers, Pastor Dave Moore said they were busting at the seams with 300 guests seated and about 70 volunteers waiting for their chance to sit down.


It was the biggest turn out he had seen at the luncheon compared to previous years, Mr Moore said.


The reason, "times are tough", he said.


"It's just so cool so many have been able to be fed," he said.


He is blown away by the response from the community when the call went out for donations of food and presents. They have dozens of children's presents left over for future events.


"I've just been blown away by the generosity of this community. One person came in and gave a 5kg of sugar. I know that was a sacrifice for them ... another guy walking past asked if there was anything we needed. We told him we were short of chicken and went away returning with $500 worth of chicken. He'd bought it himself .. then there are the volunteers, they have done so much. Nothing has been too much for them. They have stepped up to once again pull off a fabulous Christmas showing the true spirit of Christmas to our community. How can we thank them," he said.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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