The Christmas spirit was on show across Hawke's Bay yesterday as people gathered at lunches across the region.

Lunches gave those who could not afford it, or had no one to spend it with, a place to go and socialise.

Manager of Age Concern Havelock North Carol Winters, who organised a Christmas lunch, said you saw the true meaning of Christmas at them.

"A lot of people here have had a really, really hard year, and they've come along, and a lot of them are offering to help, help clean up, help do something.

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"That's just totally heartwarming to see."

They had 250 people through the door, with just over 50 volunteers.

People of all ages were welcome, with 80 children attending, all of whom got a gift. The youngest was 1, the oldest 94.

Guests were treated to 20 minutes of singing from Hawke's Bay Today's person of the year Anna Pierard.

"It was spine-tinglingly good," Winters said.

Winters wanted to say a special thank you to chef Stu Wilkins. He owns the cafe Maina in Havelock North and did the cooking for the event.

She said the event was growing each year, with 50 more people this year compared to last.

"Every year he comes and does this for us, he works seven days a week and he gets one day off a year and then he comes and does this."

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She also wanted to thank Pure Catering who had provided the premises, ANZ Bank, Hastings District Council, and other sponsors who made the event possible.

In Napier, hundreds turned up for a lunch held at the Salvation Army. Te Aranga Marae also put on lunch for 150 people who were either homeless or had nowhere to go for Christmas.