It’s a mammoth task for the group of volunteers that every year make Christmas day special for several hundred people in the shire and this year will be even bigger.
The Sapphire Coast Community Christmas Day lunches organised by Janita and Jeremy Fernando, of Merimbula, started in Twyford Hall six years ago. The idea was to encourage anyone spending Christmas on their own, or doing it tough, to come along to Twyford Hall and enjoy Christmas lunch complete with all the festivities and presents.
Volunteers decorate the hall, prepare and cook a full Christmas lunch, wait on the tables and host the event for everyone who comes along.
“The idea is that no one spends Christmas day on their own,” Jeremy Fernando said.
Last year over 100 people enjoyed lunch together at Twyford Hall and for the first time the lunch was also run in Eden at the Uniting Church Hall. Both those venues will once again host a lunch but this year Bega will be another venue using the Bega showgrounds.
Mr Fernando said last year people of all ages and backgrounds participated and the atmosphere in the room was just like a busy family household should have on Christmas Day.
“More people are alone on Christmas Day than you would think,” said Janita Fernando, the event organiser.
“Last year we had young families, single parents, couples on their own, visitors with nowhere to go, senior citizens, the list goes on. It really was a snapshot of our community and it was so gratifying to see people from all walks of life sitting down together to share a Christmas Day meal. It made me proud to live on the Sapphire Coast,” Ms Fernando said.
Lunches will be served from 12 to 3pm and all are welcome to attend. As always the organisers rely on volunteers and donations to make this community event happen so if you would like attend, volunteer or make a donation please call Janita on 0427 298 432. Transport to and from the halls can be provided upon request. Please ask people what they are doing on Christmas Day and if they are at a loss - invite them