Inviting more than 150 people to Christmas lunch is a massive undertaking, but it is a case of many hands make light work, as the community joins together to make it happen.
This will be the 17th free Orewa Christmas Day lunch. It is being organised jointly by the Salt Community Trust and Northgate Baptist Church.
Trust programme manager Heidi Versey is coordinating the lunch and has been involved for several years. She says the lunch is attended by people of all ages and has a friendly, festive atmosphere. “The whole of New Zealand stops for Christmas Day, so you really notice it if you’re alone,” she says.
Heidi always has more than enough volunteers to help with the arrangements and service on the day, including a key group that forms ‘the kitchen team’.
Support from local churches and businesses is exceptional for this event with everything from large supermarkets to small cafés like Puff in Orewa contributing. Puff recently held a ‘free coffee in return for a donation’ day, which raised more than $250 for the Christmas lunch. The Hibiscus & Bays Local Board provides the venue, Orewa Community Centre, free of charge.
Heidi and a big team will go in on December 23 to decorate the hall.
The free Christmas lunch is open to everyone – first in, first served. To date, despite as many as 180 people attending, no-one has been turned away. Doors open at 11.30am and lunch is at 12 noon. If you’d like to help or donate, visit www.salttrust.org.nz for more information.
Free dinner is served
Love Soup Hibiscus Coast hosted more than 100 people in Whangaparaoa Hall for its first free Christmas dinner last year.
Julie King, of Love Soup, says around 20 volunteers put the whole thing together, including a visit from Santa and presents.
This year, the Stanmore Bay Pool and Leisure Centre is helping to provide the presents. Hibiscus Matters in Orewa is also happy to be a drop off point for anyone who would like to give a gift for the Love Soup Christmas dinner, wrapped or unwrapped, for an adult or child.
Wrapped gifts should have an indication of whether it’s for a boy or girl, and the age. Gifts can be dropped at the Hibiscus Matters office in Tamariki Plaza, Orewa, until we close for the holidays, on December 15.
The Love Soup free Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings, is open to all.
It takes place at Whangaparaoa Hall on Christmas Day, starting at 6pm.