The spirit of Christmas was evident in Merimbula when over 120 people enjoyed a traditional Christmas Day lunch at Twyford Hall all provided by volunteers and local businesses.
Organiser, Janita Fernando said: "An amazing day was had by all that attended the Sapphire Coast community Christmas lunch.”
Donations of food, gifts, time and money had flooded in to assist the organisers, Mrs Fernando, her husband, Jeremy and Christine Smith.
On Christmas Eve more than 30 volunteers assisted at Twyford Hall to transform it into a Christmas wonderland with seven decorated Christmas trees, lights and beautifully decorated tables. There was a kids’ activity room set up and presents were wrapped and placed under the trees.
On Christmas Day Christine Smith was there at the crack of dawn to fire up the ovens and prepare the food and later Janita and eldest daughter Mahli arrived to put the finishing touches in place, turn on the Christmas lights and carols.
There were 120 people who poured through the doors and were treated to a scrumptious three-course meal prepared by Christine Smith, Tony Keig, Mahli Jackson and an army of volunteers that helped prepare and serve it.
Mrs Fernando said: “We all thanked the Lord for our food and the opportunity to be with others and lunch was served. There were carols playing throughout the day, lucky door prizes, bad cracker jokes, card tricks, table cloth decorating/colouring, kids games, presents and lots of laughs had by all. The feeling of a caring community was present. New friendships were made and the lonely were reached.
“The volunteers were amazing and their happiness to serve was infectious. There are so many people to thank for pulling this event together, we can't name everyone and so many also donated anonymously. Thank you to all the Christmas Eve volunteers, all the Christmas Day volunteers, everyone who donated presents, trees, decorations, lights, food, table items, drinks and money,” Mrs Fernando said.
She thanked Nola Smith, Carole Newlyn, Troy Hanson, Derek Philistin, Phil and Matt Crossley, Hayley James, Pam and Mike Reynolds, Mark and Tanya Davey, Dot Bew, Judy Davidson, Bruce and Elaine Waddell, Marg Sparkes, Marg and Stan Wilkes, Amanda Dalziel, Anne Schwarze, Chris and Carmen Fernando, The Marson family, Max and Elisabeth Murray, Russell and Kerryann Fitzpatrick, the Kidby family Morgans Financial, Bobbins transport, In the Mix bakery, Crisco, Eden Gas and Gear, Sapphire Coast Physiotherapy, Mrs Macs Emporium, The Promenade businesses, Inflict fitness, Tura Woolworths, Little Nippers, Nest of Pambula who gave a pair of earrings to every woman that attended and Pambula Fresh Food Market for their time and donations.
Mrs Fernando also thanked the Pambula Baptist Church for its support and encouragement and particularly Christine Smith for the hours of preparation, organising, cooking and cleaning and thanked the families of volunteers for releasing them for Christmas day.
“Thank you to you the community for supporting us and spreading the word to those in need to come and eat with us. One hundred and twenty people was a dream come true. We hope to do it all again this year,” Mrs Fernando said.