As November turns to December, a host of organisations in Glen Innes are gearing up to help the less fortunate in town over Christmas.
Literally gearing up in the case of the Glen Innes Celtic Cruisers, a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who plan to collect toys from Salvation Army bins on Saturday. There have been four bins in Glen Innes, two at Deepater and one at Emmaville.
The club’s David Short said the response had been poor so far. To redress that, he urged generous minded people to find the bins and leave new toys or second hand ones in very good condition for the motor-cyclists to collect, and then for the Salvation Army to distribute over Christmas to kids who otherwise might go without.
Pathfinders Specialist Homelessness Services (which helps young people in difficulty to get on their feet) has also set up a Christmas tree in the Community Centre on Grey Street where people can leave gifts. At a later stage, it hopes to give out small camp beds for those without permanent homes.
For those left alone, there will be a Christmas lunch provided at the Town Hall by Astrid Scheer and her friends and family. In previous years, more than a hundred people have turned up. Astrid said that the communal meal provided companionship for those who lacked it over a period when family was important.
How do you cook Christmas lunch for more than a hundred people? She said the answer was to make the food the day before and rely on salads and cold meats.
And warm hearts. She got involved as a volunteer some years ago and then the original organisers moved on and she and her husband decided it was up to them to keep the event going.
“It is a day of great company, great food, big laughs and it beats sitting at home alone on Christmas day for sure.”
Other charities are also gearing up. Vinnies was expected to finalise its Christmas drive soon.