A community Christmas dinner can make a world of difference, says Tracey Collis, a member of the Guardian Angels team working to dish up a great Christmas Day in Dannevirke this year.
Collis, the Tararua District mayor, is one of a small group planning the big event in our Town Hall, but come the time, they will be helped by an army of angels who will decorate the hall and cook and serve the meal.
Led by Donna and Murray de'Admin, of the Akitio Rural Fire Force and supported by Fire and Emergency New Zealand, the Guardian Angels want to give their time to help others.
"We want to put our love and energy into the Christmas lunch which is for people who have no one else at home, or have a partner, but can't cook Christmas dinner for some reason, " Donna said.
Local churches are being asked to nominate people to attend the Christmas day meal and the group will also approach social agencies to ensure those most in need have the opportunity to attend. Organisers will be catering for 160 people, with everyone attending taking home a gift package, with Donna planning on including some food items in the gift.
For our district mayor, the event will be a special and unique community gathering.
"A community Christmas like this can make a world of difference in people's lives," she said.
While they already have the backing of some businesses in Dannevirke, as well as financial contributions from the Dannevirke and Districts RSA and the Community Board, the Guardian Angels are also asking others to contribute.
"Maybe they could have a food donation box at their workplace, with the items going either to our food banks or the community meal," Collis said.
And the group would appreciate any donations of non-perishable items or baked goods which can be packaged up to be distributed to those attending on December 25.
And no, it's not too early to start putting aside your non-perishable contributions as it will help the Guardian Angels with their budgeting for the event.
People can hand in their items at the Tararua District Council offices and if anyone is interested in being involved in helping on Christmas Day or can help with entertainment, contact Donna de'Admin.