Rotorua Weekender: Generosity makes Christmas merry

By Cherie Taylor

Manawa Kowhai is delighted with the remote controlled car and games she has been given by the community.

Hundreds of presents have been given to bring cheer to dozens of Rotorua children and their families who would have otherwise gone without this Christmas.

Organisers of the Rotorua Combined Churches Community Christmas Lunch have been overwhelmed by their call for support from the community to provide a great Christmas day for the lonely and those struggling at this time of the year.

Dozens of children thronged the church alter in rows awaiting their turn to receive a wrapped gift _ all leaving with huge similes and laughter as they shared their excitment with others and their families.

Manawa says Christmas was a heap of fun but made a lot better by the festive treat at the luncheon.

"I got a t-shirt and some games from my aunty and nan ... it's so cool to get these toys.''

Cousins Diamond Keil, 4, and Amelia-May Osborne, 3, were also stoked with their gifts of books, dolls and a teddy bear.

Davinia Osborne says it was lovely the children were given a treat as many parents couldn't fit such luxuries into their budgets these day.

"It's really nice because this way they don't miss out and get to experience Christmas,'' she says.

Luncheon organiser Pastor Dave Moore says they were overwhelmed by the generosity of the community who helped put off this year's luncheon.

"Just look at all the smiling faces. It's so great to see so many faces happy and so many people. I'm blown away for the generosity of the community. Everyone has come together to pull off a great Christmas ... this is the true spirit of Christmas _ caring and sharing,'' he says.

More than 300 attended the dinner with more than 70 helpers serving them a full lunch with desert and entertainment.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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