Glen Severn Community Christmas Day Luncheon is a whole town effort, organiser Astrid Scheer says

Last year's community Christmas Day luncheon. Photo: Rob Scheer
Last year's community Christmas Day luncheon. Photo: Rob Scheer

The whole of Glen Innes helps to put on the community Christmas Day luncheon at the Town Hall, organiser Astrid Scheer says.

“We have such a caring and wonderfully supportive community,” she said. “They make it happen.”

The lunch – now in its eighth year – is held for people who have nobody to share the day with.

“Christmas is the day of highest suicides in the whole year,” Astrid said. “If we can stop just one person from having to sit at home alone, and be sad and miserable on Christmas Day, then we’ve done a good thing.”

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Astrid and her team are catering for 250 people; just under 200 came last year. Many are elderly folk.

“Their kids have gone to the big smoke; sometimes even their husband or wife has passed away – and they’re left at home, all alone.”

“It just makes Christmas a little bit more special; it puts some meaning back into it,” Astrid said. “It's a lovely day. Everybody has a ball.”

Last year's Christmas day luncheon. Photo: Rob Scheer

Last year's Christmas day luncheon. Photo: Rob Scheer

Businesses – like Jim Ritchie – Landmark Harcourts, and the White Rock Wind Farm – give money to put on last year’s event; so, too, did the Glen Innes Men’s Shed.

Chef Leanne Smith volunteers every year. Butchers provide ham, and pubs bring salads. Families spend days baking biscuits, while school classes provide cakes.

Santa Claus will come round, bringing a little present for everybody. The under-fives will get knitted or crocheted soft toys. There will be lucky door prizes and draws, provided by community members.

The Danthonia Bruderhof sing carols, and say grace; talk to the guests, keeping them company – and are, apparently, amazing with the cleaning.

“A huge thank you to all the businesses and people in the community, and the volunteers that enable this to happen,” Astrid said. “Without them, no matter how hard I organize, it's not going to happen.”

The lunch is free, but guests who want to pay their way can make a donation; money goes towards next year’s Christmas lunch.

Town Hall, December 25, 11.30am. RSVP by Friday, December 21. Phone Astrid on 6734 4274, or Rob on 0408 141 809, or leave your name in the book at the Community Centre.