Lunch serves up Christmas spirit

The Reverend Lesley Degrussa and co-ordinator Jan Gilbert at Central Park. Picture: Martin Kennealey  d446770
The Reverend Lesley Degrussa and co-ordinator Jan Gilbert at Central Park. Picture: Martin Kennealey d446770

FOR those worried about preparing a Christmas meal for extended family, spare a thought for the volunteers who will serve 500 guests in Joondalup on Christmas Day.

About 150 volunteers will help at the annual Joondalup Christmas Lunch for people who have nowhere else to go or cannot afford a meal.

Catering co-ordinator Jan Gilbert, of Kallaroo, previously helped at Mission Australia’s Christmas Lunch in the Park in Perth before the Joondalup event started in 2008.

“On the first day we did it, my son and I knew we didn’t ever want to spend Christmas any other way and we haven’t,” she said.

“It’s the sharing of Christmas with others and sharing with the community; it’s just so special.”

Beldon Uniting Church Reverend Lesley Degrussa said she was looking forward to helping at the lunch for the first time.

“It’s just a lovely thing to do because it’s a very vulnerable time for people,” she said.

“For a lot of people Christmas is not the happy time that we all make it out to be… so to come and spend it an atmosphere that’s congenial to everyone just enjoying themselves, I think it’s really great.”

Volunteer Kim Gallyer first attended the event as a guest in 2011 with her husband and son.

“We were so impressed with the love and care that the Joondalup Christmas Lunch volunteers extended to us, we decided we wanted to be a part of that in the future,” she said.

The family helped with the 2013 event and Mrs Gallyer is now part of the committee.

“The smiles on their faces made it so much joy to be a part of such a rewarding event,” she said.

The lunch costs about $25,000 and is supported by organisations including City of Joondalup, Lotterywest and WA Spit Roast, who provide food at a discounted price.

Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard encouraged people facing Christmas Day alone to attend.

“Unfortunately, for some people December 25 can be a day of loneliness and great sadness,” he said.

“Everyone deserves a happy Christmas and for eight years Joondalup Christmas Lunch volunteers have been taking time away from their own celebrations with family and friends to share the Christmas Spirit with others.”

The lunch runs from 11.30am to 2.30pm at Central Park in Joondalup.

Guest registrations are essential; visit www.joondalup christmaslunch.com.