Christmas meal was first for days for some people
SOME of the 55 homeless people fed by volunteers in Garbutt yesterday said they had not eaten for three days.
Agencies which usually looked after the homeless had been closed over the long weekend, Helen Clarke, an organiser of the lunch at Melrose Park yesterday afternoon, said.
Ms Clarke said a number of the people who came by buses from Dean Park and other parts of Garbutt had told helpers they had run out of food.
‘‘Everything was closed from Friday,’’ she said.
‘‘From what I understand the first organisation to reopen will be the Drop-In Centre tomorrow.’’
Townsville Christian City Life Centre gave away baked dinners and food parcels yesterday with help from Army Reserve volunteers, the Mayor of Townsville’s annual Christmas appeal and Brumby’s at Vincent Village.
The church had enough food for 100 people, and 48 volunteers to prepare and serve it.
The roast meat, vegetables and salad had been too much for those who had gone without food on the long weekend, Ms Clarke said.
They had taken leftovers and food parcels of canned food, bread and pudding.
A spokesman for Choice Australia Management, which supplied two buses and drivers, said they had been unable to find anyone at pre-arranged pick-up points on The Strand.
Ms Clarke, co-ordinator of the Christian Life Centre’s Community Care Centre, said they had promoted the lunch through the Drop-In Centre at Dean Park.
The Army Reserve’s 35th Field Squadron, 11th Brigade, had supplied field kitchen equipment and tents, and three volunteers to cook the food.
The turn-out of volunteers from her church and other organisations had been excellent, she said.
Church members had also run a public Christmas party on Friday night, in Cambridge Park, Vincent, attended by 500 people.
TIME FOR GIVING . . . volunteers from Townsville Christian Life Centre help feed the homeless on Christmas Day (from left) Helen Clarke, Emily Denny, Helen Jones and Janis Page