Ōrewa’s free community lunch will look a bit different this year, but organisers are determined to make it as festive and enjoyable as possible.
This is the 21st time that the free lunch has been held on Christmas Day at Ōrewa Community Hall.
It is organised by The Salt Community Trust and made possible by donations from churches, businesses and individuals.
Normally it caters for up to 180 people for a sit-down meal, but making it possible under the red traffic light Covid-19 setting – and catering for absolutely everyone, regardless of their vaccination status – required some creative thinking.
Event coordinator Debra Hunt says this year’s festive feast will be in the form of contactless takeaways, from Ōrewa Community Hall.
She says they will have musicians playing while people wait to make it more Christmassy. Guests can then take the two course meal across to the beach or a grassy spot for a picnic or take it home.
A small team of people will chat to the guests from a distance to check in and make sure everyone’s okay or if any assistance, of any kind, is needed.
Debra says preparations for the event only started early in December, as they were waiting to see whether it would even be possible to go ahead with the free meal.
Support from any businesses would still be much appreciated.
Key supporters already on board are New World Ōrewa, Ōrewa Taxation and Island in Ōrewa who made a donation.
“We always have enough food and volunteers – including ones who have helped us for many years,” Debra says. “It is always amazing to see how everyone puts this together for the community.”
Auckland Council also provides use of the hall free of charge – the meals will be prepared there.
Debra says that despite the Covid rules, the event is about coming together to share Christmas, within what is allowed.
“This year’s meal will require us to keep a physical distance, but we are doing our best to make a socially distanced event as sociable as possible. It’s still nice to be around others at Christmas even if they are 2m away,” she says.
The meals can be collected from Ōrewa Community Hall on December 25, from 11.30am-1.30pm.
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