One hundred and fifty barbecued chooks. Twenty-five hams. Twelve hundred bread rolls. One hundred puddings. Fifty litres of custard. Two thousand soft drinks. One thousand teabags. Ten kilos of coffee.
Would you take it on?
Preparing Christmas Lunch in the Park for 1,000 people may sound like every chef’s nightmare, but there’s nothing but joy in this event; and, after 17 years, the Samaritans have got it down to a fine art. After all, 1,000 lunches means 1,000 happy people who may otherwise have gone without any kind of Christmas celebration at all.
And for Samaritans in Newcastle and their dedicated band of 250 volunteers, that’s what Christmas is all about.
Each year, people come from all walks of life to break bread at the Samaritans table and celebrate Christmas in a community setting with others who find themselves in similar circumstances. Held in the Newcastle Foreshore Railway Sheds, people come to enjoy Christmas day with lunch, entertainment, good company, a visit from Santa, and gifts for children and adults.
Samaritans Communication Manager Liz Baker says there were many reasons people came together at the park for Christmas Lunch Newcastle.
‘Some people have no family at all, or their family is scattered; others are homeless; and others are experiencing financial hardship and cannot afford to give their families any type of Christmas at all.’
‘Every year we see more and more families come together to us for lunch. Our event is all about inclusion, to bring hope and joy to the vulnerable people in our community, help families living with disadvantage and to welcome those without friends or family over the festive season.’
Liz says the support of major sponsors like Port Waratah Coal Services gives the much-loved event sustainability because knowing that financial support is there allows planning for future years to happen. Port Waratah’s Commercial Team has also volunteered with the event’s step up for years.
‘There are so many people in need of our help. Christmas brings with it additional hardships for families in crisis and most of the time it’s the children who struggle the most.
‘Without the generosity of Port Waratah and other sponsors, our volunteers and the community, Christmas Lunch in the Park would not happen.’
Samaritans Christmas Lunch for vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our community is held at the Newcastle Foreshore Railway Sheds. It’s a chance to enjoy Christmas Day with lunch, entertainment, good company, a visit from Santa, and gifts for children and adults.