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Workers...Last year's volunteers line up before the community Christmas dinner last year. PHOTO: STU JACKSON

by Chris Tobin

All and sundry are welcome at Timaru’s community Christmas dinner, chief organiser Melissa Brennan says.

The free dinner on Christmas Day regularly drew about 250 people, who sat down to enjoy the festive meal together at the Caroline Bay Hall, she said.

“We can cater for 250,” Ms Brennan said.

“Last year we tried to cater for more but it was just too difficult.”

Quite a few families attended. Food was donated and purchases were made.

Much of the food would be cooked the day before and reheated. More than 40 volunteers made it all happen.

Those attending could look forward to a buffet meal of lamb, ham, chicken, new potatoes and other vegetables. Dessert would be pavlova, fruit salad and ice cream.

“All children aged 10 and under get a free gift from Santa. At the moment we’ve got 25 kids booked in,” Ms Brennan said.

Transport would be provided on the day. The meal would start at noon.

Bookings were essential, Ms Brennan said.

Anyone who wanted to give away food items, such as ham on the bone, chicken, lemonade, fruit salad and boxes of individually wrapped chocolates, could contact her on 684-4410 or 0204 007-3351.