It never ceases to amaze Lieutenant Peter Koia of the Whangārei Salvation Army the generosity of our community.
And yesterday was no exception with the Salvation Army putting on a fantastic Christmas Lunch for more than 120 people in the city.
The Salvation Army's Aubrey St base was abuzz yesterday as about 40 volunteers helped get the dining room ready for the free feast that Koia said is only possible thanks to the generosity of the community.
''The businesses that have donated food and drinks and presents, all the people who have donated their time to put this on. It couldn't happen without all those people and more.
This is what Christmas is all about, the community caring and looking after each other.''
Koia said a lot of people in the community don't have anywhere to go on Christmas Day or may not have family to spend the day with, or cannot afford a Christmas Day meal so the Salvation Army was there to help out.
''When the community comes together like this it's great. It's a community looking after those that need it. Christmas is all about looking after those in need.
''Jesus Christ is the reason for the season and Jesus was about the community coming together and helping those who are most vulnerable and that's what we see ourselves as, continuing that work.
"The volunteers have put aside some of their own time on Christmas Day to come and help others in the community to ensure they have an enjoyable and memorable Christmas day.
"It's a wonderful gesture. But it's not just those volunteering today, we've put in many hours to get to this stage with volunteers getting the place ready and preparing the food ahead of today.''
He said the generosity of the Northland community never ceased to amaze and it really came to the fore at Christmas time.
And judging by the smiles of those attending all were grateful for the work the Salvation Army, its volunteers and the community had put in to making the day a success.
As well as the meal, everybody who attended went away with a present too.
''And all those gifts came from our community too.''